As we move forward, we realize that the things that have worked before either may not be appropriate or may not be enough at every stage of life. Following graduation from the University of Michigan Law School I moved to Chicago and jogged along Lake Michigan, dreaming of training for a Marathon. I had no idea what adventures lay ahead.
These days my life is here in Zichron Yaacov, a town founded 140 years ago and nestled between the Carmel mountain range and the Mediterranean Sea.
Israel’s largest botanic garden Ramat HaNadiv is only a few minutes away, and is surrounded by a protected area left largely in its natural state – including significant archaeological sites with their explanations posted for visitors. Two to three mornings a week I go there with a friend to walk in nature.
When we moved back from Jerusalem in February of 2021, I started walking by myself in the early am hours in Zichron Ya’akov both as a way to explore the neighborhood (where we were house-hunting)as well as to get back into shape – to lose the weight I had gained during COVID lockdowns. Even in the middle of town I found stunning views.
Within a few months my friend had joined me and we began our habit of walking at Ramat HaNadiv. The walking has been great for body and soul, however we realize that it is not enough.
Now at the advanced age of 62 and a half, I know that I am training to walk to the bathroom in my 80s and beyond. That is the real Marathon.
Walking / hiking promotes cardiovascular health, and yoga can be great for balance, flexibility and mindfulness. For many years I had an established yoga practice at Unity Woods, in Bethesda MD – by far the best studio I have ever found for Iyengar Yoga. After Aliyah in October 2018, I participated with my son in a local therapeutic yoga program from stellar teacher and dear friend Maya Saxton. Then after our move to Jerusalem I connected with another excellent Iyengar studio, however with all of the COVID displacement I lost the thread. Now I am renewing my practice here with a Vijnana yoga – a wonderful branch of yoga developed by Orit Sen Gupta that I learned about during an all too brief Jerusalem sabbatical in 2012.
Particularly during 2nd Middle Age, the missing piece of the puzzle for me has been strength training, and so at the beginning of September I started a weight training program – with light weights – to strength my core and upper body. Four weeks in, I am happy with initial progress and encouraged to continue weight training as an important part of my fitness program.
Still walking may always my most most accessible, familiar and – thanks to my good friend – social fitness habit. Earlier this week following the Rosh HaShana (Jewish New Year) holiday, we decided to head to the Nachsholim beach for our early am walk, ending with our shoes off in the surf. It was an amazing experience and reminded me yet again that I have only begun to scratch the surface of the beauty around me.
That is the other enduring challenge – to truly appreciate the beauty along the way.