I have been thinking about regrets; that often maligned emotion. In our 21st century media-driven obsession with projecting perfect, happy, successful, invulnerable lives, we often equate admitting regret with acknowledging failure and appearing weak.
I drove home from the appointment shell-shocked. At 46, I had just been told that I should never run again! It turned out that the back pain that had grown from a niggle to a whining complaint over the past twelve months was my spine letting me know that it had been invaded. Arthritis – advanced enough to be visible on a normal x-ray, – had taken up residence in my lower lumbar vertebrae (along with its companion – Spondylosis).
It’s winter in my home town, Cape Town, at present. Walking my two German Shepherd dogs on the mountain trails, I am fortunate enough to witness firsthand, nature in all her fury and finery. We have just endured a long drought on this piece of the planet. Water is a rare and precious commodity on the Southern tip of Africa and with even less rainfall than usual over the past eighteen months, I have watched the riverbeds dry out, the ravines turn to mud and then dry sand and the dogs have relied on me carrying water for them.
Midwinter. Early morning. Outside the first light of dawn chases the receding darkness. I slip into the water. Its crisp coldness is a shock. Then, without my having to give instruction, my body kicks in. It knows what to do in water. Feet kicking, arms stroking rhythmically. Before I have even recovered from the shock of the coldness, I am gliding through the water.
Continuing on our sojourn with purpose. Once we have established what it is and what it is not, (see my earlier blog post “Pondering Purpose“) How do we find it for ourselves? And what happens once we do? My answer to this won’t be pleasing to the young enthusiasts among you, but life has taught me that purpose is not like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.