I met a woman while stretching in the park.
What I first noticed about her was, the emotional weight she seemed to carry along with some on her hips and thighs. Since we were the only ones there, I decided to speak to her.
“If you don’t mind me asking, what’s the matter? I see you’re agitated first thing in the morning.”
She looked at me pensively.
“Since you asked, I just hate myself for not doing more. I’m trying to lose weight…chemo weight that just won’t budge. And all I can manage is one full turn around the track.” (a little under a mile and a half)
I digested this, having been there myself, though long ago, before someone said these magic words.
“It’s what you do, not what you don’t do .”
We are so hard on ourselves, and here’s a woman who clearly, has been in the valley, as they say, beating herself up for not accomplishing more.
I’ve never had chemo, thank God, but know those who’ve had, and it’s no picnic. So after enduring its many slights, to put it mildly, I felt the need to raise this woman from self-hatred to hero.
“You know, for the record, only 1 out of 10 people exercise, 6 of them inconsistently, meaning, you’re in the higher group of those who’ve committed to a regimen.”
She thought about this for a moment, while stretching her calves, then saying, “I do come out every day, even if I’m not up to it. If I can’t run, I walk, then stretch before going home.”
“That’s great, not to mention impressive.”
She was so pleased to hear this, as if it never occurred to her, her whole demeanor appearing to change.”
“I’m so glad we met,” she said, smiling for the first time. “My name is Marion, and it’s been a pleasure meeting you.”
“I’m Susannah, and likewise,” I said, as she proceeded to leave. “And
try to remember Marion, it’s what you do, not what you don’t do.”