Finding My Second Wind
By Jane Margesson, AARP Maine Communications Director
My father was an avid walker. All his life, he enjoyed being outside with only the most inclement weather keeping him from an afternoon stroll or gentle hike. When I was a child, he infused me with this same love of the outdoors in great part because he was a wonderful storyteller. He pointed out new growth in the garden, told me the names of trees, and helped me see the birds hidden in their nests. We would watch for the first sign of snowdrop flowers, and he showed me how to transplant them around our house. We sang songs and had little picnics. He usually brought along a book so he could read aloud to me afterwards while I cuddled my little dog, John Henry. He explained to me what it means to get one’s “second wind.” Every outing turned into a sweet adventure.
Each spring and early summer, my thoughts turn easily to those treasured days as I seek new adventures of my own. In Maine, of course, that isn’t hard to do. The wealth of forests, trails, ponds, lakes and hikes seems to know no bounds. Even in March, when the wind was whistling past the house and the drifts were still high, I couldn’t help but eye our kayak and think about new places to paddle and new paths to walk.
Like many of my fellow quinquagenarians, my fitness level has certainly changed in the last few years. I used to think nothing of going for a run or chasing after tennis balls until I was breathless. I’ve had some hip issues and a few bumps along the way, so the more strenuous options for exercise have rather lost their luster. We are well equipped, however, with two treadmills in our home that hum along happily when we jump on board. I’m just not that motivated to “take exercise,” though, until I get outside. Spotting the changing light, listening to the rustle of leaves and hearing the charming little birds make their calls will never lose its appeal.
I’m digging deep to tap into a new fitness path to get healthy and stay healthy. As my mother-in-law used to say, “if not now, when?” I recently treated myself to a new pair of sneakers in a fun color–purple–and for some reason that investment has injected me with more motivation. After all, extra pounds won’t help my tendonitis. Adopting a sedentary lifestyle won’t help me run after Heather, our dog.
I hope you will join me in my quest to get up, get out and get moving. There is so much to see here! So many wonderful memories to make. So many sweet adventures await in this beautiful state of ours. My father lived to be 92 and I like to think that his daily walks had something to do with it. I’m after my “second wind.” Out I go!