Runversation: Have the heart to run
Look, life is random. Life keeps moving forward. It doesn’t care what we think or do. It makes no sense for us to question the things that happen in life — we just have to keep moving forward.
The best way to live life is to live it on your own terms. Each of us should make time, have the freedom and flexibility to pursue the things that matter most to us, whether that is travel, volunteering, fitness, or any number of other hobbies or interests. We have to define our own paths no matter what life throws at us.
Nobody likes to lie on hospital beds, hooked up to blinking, ticking, and pumping machines, with a breathing tube down their esophagus. In those solitary moments we wonder if we have wandered off course.
“I felt very frustrated and lousy the whole day. I couldn’t lift my hands high up. I couldn’t put my hands behind. I couldn’t bend down. All my movements were restricted,” recounts 54-year-old Jimmy Hoon after undergoing a five-hour quadruple bypass heart surgery.
He picked up the habit of smoking at the age of 17 years. During his working years, he used to smoke 10 packs of cigarettes, drink 15 cups of coffee and work 15-16 hours a day. Soon, his work stress triggered panic attacks. After a routine health check-up revealed he had high cholesterol, gout, panic disorder and four blockages of between 50 and 90 per cent in his arteries, he reduced his smoking, but a bypass was inevitable by now.
The road to redemption is not always direct. There will be hazards along the way, fluctuations of fortune, setbacks and loss of hope. But redemption will come. And when it does, every part of the journey will be understood and justified. One has to take action and create the life one longs for. We have to go beyond the limitations presented to us by our mind or body.
After three months of confining himself to his home, Jimmy Hoon ventured out for a walk. He promised himself that he would stay healthy. After a year and a half, the turnaround began. Slow walks to jogs to running.
He signed up for a 10-km run which came almost two years after his surgery and is still the one he “enjoyed the most”. And it got him hooked. Gradually he tested himself by running half marathons and at the age of 54 ran his first full marathon. It was a huge emotional moment for him.
Running has given him a new lease of life. An opportunity to watch his kids grow up and live their own lives. Encourage those around him.
Often, we wait to make changes but no matter what age, one can still take up new hobbies or improve oneself. As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays.” Don’t give up. It’s never too late to live the life of your dreams.
The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org