I hope I never take for granted the health improvements I’ve been fortunate to make over the last year or so. Last weekend I had an opportunity to see how my current fitness level could really come in handy.
On Friday after work I began a whirlwind trip to Pennsylvania to attend a funeral. What do I call a whirlwind? I checked into my hotel in Greensburg at 1 a.m. on Saturday. I was back in my home at 11 p.m. Saturday night. (A Sunday commitment prevented me from staying over on Saturday.)
The daughter of the deceased is a very close friend. The deceased was a friend as well. I didn’t want anything to stop me from attending…not even a huge airport and a short time between flights. I booked my travel so late in the game, the flights were not ideal and I couldn’t find any direct routes. So I flew from Nashville to Charlotte and from Charlotte to Pittsburgh. As I chatted with someone at my gate in Nashville, he warned me that the Charlotte airport is pretty big and getting to my next gate could be a challenge. The thought of missing the flight made me sick. I spent the flight trying not to worry about it (and trying not to puke from the turbulence we felt during final decent).
When I got off the plane I checked with an agent to learn my next gate number. She looked up the gate number, then looked at her watch. “Do I have time to make it?” I asked. “I think you can do it. Don’t make any stops along the way and use every moving sidewalk you can find,” was her somewhat confident answer. Thankful for my bladder of steel, my rolling carry-on bag and I were off.
I’m used to having so much spare time in airports that I saunter through them. But this time I was really hustling. Actually, I was going at a pace I would use if I were race walking. Had it not been for the carry-on bag, I’d have run. Nothing was going to stop me from being on that plane.
When I arrived at my gate, winded and with sweat beads popping on my forehead, my boarding group number had just been called. I fell in line and soon I was on my way.
As I plopped into my seat I felt grateful. I know there was no way I could have made it to the gate on time if I had to race walk carrying 82 extra pounds. Perhaps the airline would have waited for me, but I would not have wanted to be the obese woman who held up the flight and everyone on it because she was too out of shape to get to the gate on time (even though I still say there was not enough time between the two flights). And if they had not held the plane, I would not have wanted to make the call to my friend to tell her I’d missed my flight and would not be attending the funeral. I doubt I would have admitted the reason I’d missed it, but in my heart I would have known and I would never have forgiven myself.
As I’ve traveled through this fitness journey I often focus on how my life is better because of the physical improvements I’ve made. But last weekend I was reminded of the fact that how I care for myself can affect others.
Some friendships are so deep, you just have to be there. I’m grateful I was.