Every board game I ever played had a starting point. My grandson and I just played last week and when I said, “where do we start?”, he knew immediately. He did not need to think about it, he just pointed. Then he promptly told me: "and to 'win', we get to 'here'," and pointed again. It was very clear. In all the races I have ever participated in there is anticipation as one sees the finish line. It is usually close to the start line if not both the start and the finish line of the race. However, with this said, is the game or the race about the starting or the finish line? Or in our haste to finish do we miss the part that is called the “journey” or the race, or the “game” itself?
I cannot believe I am saying this but 20 years ago, yes 20 years ago, I watched a very progressive series called “Living the Questions”. It was a very good video series with 21 chapters. I have watched it since and recently pulled it out again to view. There is a Rabbi in this series who states she is asked all the time, “How do I be a good Jew? There are 613 laws to remember and adhere to!” Her answer is always, “Pick one and start!” She goes on to say no one will be perfect or adhere to every law perfectly every day. We make mistakes and we are flawed. That is what makes us human, and this is why we ask forgiveness and have compassion for others.
On Saturday morning, Danielle (my daughter) and I were swimming because we both are racing IronGirl Aug. 7 in Grimsby. It is our first race in over two years where we will be swimming. We were at the pool here in town. I commented my form was not what it should be. She gave me some pointers. She said with each lap (and she did 50+ laps that morning) she takes a different thought process and targets different areas of her stroke. With each lap she focuses differently. How her arm hangs above the water, her roll and breath, is she stroking her thigh to know she is finishing? Is she flutter kicking from her hips and not her knees? She said it is hard to think of every one of those things all at the same time, so she picks one, starts and rotates through with each lap.
August is my challenge month because it is my birth month. This year will be my third annual fundraising challenge for charity. I started in 2020 and decided I would use it as an excuse to start something different. I do not have a finish line, other than to do it each year that I am able. The challenge consists of my striving to cover 250 kms in the 31 days. This also includes a one-day event where I will cover in one day my age! That means, each year I must add a kilometer. Last year I came up just short of my goal because I rolled my ankle three days before the end of the month.
This August I have the same challenge and will be helped along by two race events. The IronGirl in Grimsby where I will swim/bike/run. The swim is 500 m., the bike is 20 km, and the run is 5 km. I hope to finish in two hours. Then the weekend of Aug. 12/13 I will be in West Virginia for a team relay event. This event is a 24-hour running event where a member of our eight-person team must be moving at all times. There are three legs we must each complete. A 5.5 kms, 7.5 kms, and a 9.5 kms through the Appalachian Mountains. Trail running at night with a head lamp. Did I think I would be doing that when I started this journey of running? Never crossed my mind.
That said, in 2017, when I ran and walked my way through a 5 km distance, huffing and puffing, struggling with a heavy head from the wine the night before I did not realize I had picked one, and got started. Here today while I have covered many kilometres in my journey, I still am not looking for the finish line. This is my life and when the time comes for me to finish, I will know it. Just know it has not happened yet. I have not rolled the dice for the last time and my boot, hat or whatever token I have chosen to move along the squares on this board is still moving along.
So many people say to me, “you inspire me!” and while I never ask them what I inspired them to do, I can only hope I inspired them to somehow pick one and start. When you work with the aging, you can see so many who gave up, quit or just never got started. We are only given one game of life to play, so pick up the dice, rattle them in the cup and when you roll …. Just get started!
Danielle and I are both raising funds for Help Bolivia. You are welcome to sponsor either one of us as it all goes to the same charity. Thank you to Lydia and Matt Hill who four years ago came home and pressed “start” on this wonderful work they are doing.
Help Bolivia website - https://helpbolivia.org
Cynthia Breadner is a teacher, author, grief specialist and bereavement counsellor; a soul care worker and offers specialized care in spiritually integrated therapies. She works as a LTC chaplain assisting with end-of-life care for client and family. She is the mother part of the #DanCynAdventures duo and practices fitness, health and wellness. She is available remotely by safe and secure video connections, if you have any questions contact her today! CynthiaBreadner@gmail.com breakingstibah.com