A Year Ago This Week–Week Seven

Continuing the weekly arguments that 2016 was not all bad, I’ve created a series of posts designed to exonerate the year. This is the seventh installment in that series.

A year ago this week I wrote an article about personal records and what to do about them when they get too old to be relevant. An excerpted quote from that post:

I guess middle-aged packers will just continue to do without, unless y’all are game for coming up with a new acronym. I mean, isn’t that one of the privileges of getting older? We get special associations. Special discounts. Special seating. Special parking spaces. Special housing. Special underwear. Under-populated age groups. Peace and quiet since no one wants to talk to old people. Plus, we get to make up stuff and people will just chuckle and overlook it, right? And we can’t hear you making fun of us anyway, right?

 Click to revist the full post. I was a voice for aging runners in 2016.

A year ago this week I continued to journal insights on rejection. I wrote that the challenge is to allow my heart to feel open to rejection and remain open in the wake of rejection. I wrote that rejection is a gift in disguise, like a detour around a delay or back-up. We don’t get tangled or mired in places we can’t be effective. It keeps us keeping us moving in the direction of clear paths. I wrote:

It’s okay for others to not want us around. Sometimes it is a compliment that we make some people uncomfortable. No change is required. The Universe will place in our paths the people with whom we can share our energies and talents. We can trust this and let go of those who aren’t ready yet. 

I refined the art of self-soothing in 2016. 

A year ago this week my heart began to flutter. A year ago this week I also accepted an invitation to travel to Wisconsin for a girl’s weekend and a race. The race was still months away but I bought a dress and shoes for the cocktail party. I registered and paid for the race and all the weekend festivities. I secured lodging. I got excited and told everyone. I started saving money. I didn’t realize that the fluttering in my chest was my heart saying No even as I made all these preparations. It would take another month or so to seek cardiac care, get a bunch of tests, wear a heart monitor for a while, and then face the reality of those outcomes.

I would not end up attending the weekend or running the race. I still wear the dress all the time but I gave away the shoes. I donated my room to another runner. I spent the money I saved on cardiology bills. I made my apologies to those who said “Come anyway, even if you don’t run.” I couldn’t justify the cost of travel versus the costs my health insurance did not cover, so I declined. At this point I still didn’t know that my life as a runner would change to the full extent necessary but it hardly mattered. The arrhythmia would got worse until I was far more afraid of dying than never running another marathon.

At the time the medical advice was still reassuring. This was probably nothing serious and yes, I should keep running. I was told to reduce stress and eliminate caffeine and give it some time to see if the problem would resolve itself. So I did, until the day I spent ten hours straight in atrial fibrillation. A round of tests was ordered. I waited to hear the results of this not-so-serious malady that felt terminally serious. While I waited I used the time to educate myself as my primary coping mechanism. I would read, read, read, read, and wait for the referral to cardiology. I took responsibility for my health-related knowledge in 2016. 

So again, 2016 was not all bad. A lot of it was good. It made us better, stronger people for the challenges we faced and overcame.

— Tetra Trippet

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