A few thoughts on how any of your lame excuses don’t count.
I had this amazing weekend when my (um, I’m at a complete loss as to what adjective to use here, so we’ll leave it at that) took me to this concert in the Deep Ellum area of Dallas. As we passed through the foyer and entered the room you could hear this awesomely hard rockabilly beat. Hard enough they call it psychobilly which is a great infusion of punk, rockabilly, and other kicking elements.
We got our drinks from the bar and then focused our attention on the two man/one-woman band. When my (yeah, I still don’t have an adjective) asked me if I noticed that the bass player had only one hand.
There they were. The three of them. The rockin’ lead singer playing the guitar. The pony-tailed, gum-chewing girl playing drums. And the one-handed bass player, kicking it so perfectly it would make your dead ancestors head’s spin. Two hands, I still would have been impressed. His name is Lefty DeMarco (of course it is), with the band the Flametrick Subs.
But who says if you have only one hand you can’t be a bass player in a kick-ass band?
It’s been this reoccurring pattern I noticed within the past few weeks. I lean hard on serendipity when it comes to posting on Betty. I don’t write Betty, she writes me. All I have to do is pay attention to the Universe and the beautiful life lessons fall in my lap.
So when I was hanging out with my, my (dammit), we were talking about aging and we had a slight difference of opinion on it even though both of us wouldn’t know how to act our real age even if we tried. I think he views it as you should live fast, die young, and have a beautiful corpse all James Dean style because he doesn’t want to get to an age where you lose all your ability and physical freedoms. Both of our fathers are limited in their lives due to severe health issues. It’s difficult to watch. But I still view aging as giving me every last drop of breath and life for as long as I can have it then don’t tell me “I can’t.”
Because who says when you are old, that you have to be OLD?
I told him about when I went to this half-triathlon in California to support my friend Mary’s fiance’s band playing at the finish line. When I couldn’t find her. I found a spot where the athletes were coming around their last mile. As they passed, those of us on the sidelines would cheer and offer words of encouragement to each one passing to keep going. We could hear the announcers talking about them as they passed. They would point out how far they traveled for the event or some other tidbit of information when this one particular woman came around the corner. She was in a very respectable position in the race and that’s when the announcers said it. Her age. If memory serves correctly, they said 78.
If I run 6 miles I can’t walk for two days. She’s 78 and she’s competing in HALF TRIATHLONS!!!! For those of you who don’t know, and although it varies, this particular race was a “long course” consisting of a 1.9-kilometer (1.2-mile) swim, a 90-kilometer (56-mile) bike, and a 21.1-kilometer (13.1-mile) run (half marathon). F**k!
I was tired just walking from my car to the course.
But why can’t you be 78 and compete in triathlons?
So I googled other people who have done this and found the “Iron Nun”. She’s in her 80’s and competes in the Ironman competitions. And, she’s a Nun. So who says you can’t be a Nun and compete in the Ironman competition? And who says you can’t be in your 80s and still do it? She fought for two years just to get an 80+ category set up in the race. In 2014, while holding the record for the oldest woman to ever finish an Ironman triathlon, she was inducted into the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame. The fun kicker is she didn’t start running until she was 47!
So you are going to dig out your excuses now and say, but Betty, these people are just the exception to the rules. F*** rules. There’s always an exception to the rule. Why can’t you be the exception? And whoever said you couldn’t be? I’ll bet you 20 to 1 that the person saying you couldn’t, is the one that stares at you in the mirror and judges every wrinkle and so-called flaw.
A very long time ago I learned to hate the words “I can’t”. It doesn’t take me long to buck up when I’m told I can’t. Until I realized that the person saying it the most to me, was me. We wouldn’t take that from others, why do we take it from ourselves?
And then here’s my last example. It also involves running. This story turned me into a big crying baby for an entire day I was so surprised by it. You see, sh** happens. And not one person is immune to the things life can throw our way. It’s not the problems or the situations, it’s entirely how we view them and how we respond to them.
This past week a good friend of mine asked me if I wish I had never been through the atrocities I suffered. I didn’t even hesitate to say no. I absolutely would not change a thing because I wouldn’t be the force I am today without it. It was hard. I still can’t believe I survived, but damn I love life now. And here’s exactly why. I found it during my nightly batch of insomnia and when I start reading beautiful prose from all different types of writing. And for some odd reason, I always go back to the Count of Monte Cristo because it makes me so happy. Tales of perseverance always do. And there was my answer.
There is neither happiness nor unhappiness in this world; there is only a comparison of one state with another. Only a man who has felt ultimate despair is capable of feeling ultimate bliss. It is necessary to have wished for death in order to know how good it is to live…the sum of all human wisdom can be contained in these two words: Wait and hope.
I am beside myself and love people who find hope, where there should be none.