Reflections on lungs, Lola and hope

Yesterday, I did something I haven’t done in awhile. I got home at a decent hour. And since Matt had a late shoot that was going to put him getting home late, I had a decision to make. Should I take a nap? Clean house? Go to the Y? Take Lola on a walk?

Given that it was quite cold out yesterday and that these days, I can’t seem to sleep enough, that whole nap idea sounded terrific. But I decided against it. I also decided not to clean house. Yes, I really need to do it, but there’s time for that this weekend. So I was left with either the Y or Lola.

Ultimately, I decided the time spent getting to the Y, finding a suitable machine, hopping on it and working out, then getting back in the car and getting home wasn’t worth the end result. And let’s face it – Lola loves a good walk and really doesn’t care if it’s 21 or 81 degrees outside. So I threw on some warm clothes and my favorite Lowa hiking shoes and released Lola from her cone. As soon as we got out the front door, she threw herself onto the lawn and rolled around on her back in ecstasy. I’d made the right decision. As we started walking, some fat, fluffy snow started falling, and I took in a bunch of deep lungfuls (or would that be lungsful?) of cold air.

And I felt good. In fact, I felt better mentally than I had in about 2 weeks. Physically, I felt good, but it’s clear that I have some work ahead of me.

I’m kind of out of shape. I’ve never been a total fitness junkie, but I’ve really let my regimen go, and out there in the cold dark night, I started remembering where I was eight years ago. Back then, I decided, based on seeing myself in some really unflattering photos, that it was time to make a change. Lola, aged two, was my companion, my motivator, and my crutch for during that time. As it happens, I found myself taking an unplanned Sabbatical in the Summer of 2001. So, every morning, before it got too hot, Lola and I got in the car, went to the Roswell Park and hit the walking trail – 2.5 or 3.2 miles, depending on how we felt that day. At first, I was so out of shape, I’d have to stop at the top of the hill to catch my breath – I let Lola be my excuse – letting her sniff and find a place to mark her name with a fresh pee. But while she sniffed, I gasped – and so it went. Eventually, I caught my breath and my stride.

And here we go again. Now, I can justify taking it slower because Lola, now ten, is no longer a puppy. She betrays me often enough by acting much younger than her age. But her desire to sniff and pee has not waned, so I'm in luck.

The more I walked yesterday, the more fresh air I got to all the cells in my body, the better and more hopeful I began to feel. I know, I know – it’s not just because Obama got inaugurated yesterday, but that can’t hurt, either.

What I decided, which isn’t rocket science, is that I cannot control people. What I can control is my reaction to them.

That doesn’t mean I’m never going to snap at Matt, or get angry at rude drivers, or get frustrated when there aren’t any registers open at WalMart (although, seriously, WTF?). I can’t change the fact that some of the people I went to High School with seem to have drunk the Fox News Kool Aid and act like raging nutjobs.

But what I can do is say, “Hey, Lola – do you want to go for a walk?” And then we will.