Life is not a competition On the morning routine. I meet different people. Some will shout a greeting; others will just walk or run past quietly. Others will raise a hand which I have taken to mean, “We are in this together, keep going!” 

Fadzayi Maposah-Correspondent

There are many lessons that I learn each time I go for my morning exercise routine. 

I used to just walk. I decided to add to the walk, some running. So, I walk and run or run and walk, it basically means the same. 

I start by walking, just to stretch the legs that have carried me for over 50 years now. 

When I think that I have warmed up, I break into a little jog. When I feel that I am running out of breath, I start to walk again. I do not stand still, I keep going. I walk and run until I have completed the set distance. 

The bodies that we carry or that carry us are strong. Each time I exercise I am amazed at the strength and stamina that my body exhibits.

 It is much stronger than I actually believe it to be. There are moments that I have thought I will not complete the distance that I would have set but I complete it and want to go further. I know that if not temperate, I can become an extremist. I believe that I am not yet there. I am doing my best to be temperate.

On the morning routine. I meet different people. Some will shout a greeting; others will just walk or run past quietly. Others will raise a hand which I have taken to mean, “We are in this together, keep going!” 

 I will do the same, greet, pass quietly or raise a hand. I have realised that some people seem to have no time for greetings early in the morning.

You see I tried greeting them day after day and when no responses came after numerous tries, I resolved to pass them quietly. 

While there are encouragers who motivate even when they are not exercising, they could be on their way to or from work, there are some who will discourage you.

Some will ask what I hope to achieve at my age through exercise that I could not achieve much earlier when I was younger? Die healthy maybe? 

Exercise is important for self-discipline. The self-discipline is what leads to commitment and consistency.

Lately, I have been pleased with my performance. I have outdone myself in ways that leave a big smile on my face.

On Thursday, I learnt that there will always be some people who are much better than you. 

As I was leaving the street in which I stay, I checked the road and noticed a tall woman on the right.

She was walking briskly and gracefully too. I crossed the road and began to walk on the same side as her but I was some distance ahead of her. 

I was still in the walking phase and really sure that I was doing a lot of brisk walking, so you can imagine my surprise when I heard footsteps right behind me. 

It was the woman, way younger than me!

I could not believe it! She greeted me pleasantly and was on her way. How had she done that?  As she walked ahead of me, I could see that she was increasing the gap between the two of us as she walked away. 

While I was still reeling from the shock asking myself, how she had gone past me, I heard more footsteps behind me. 

Slight turn of my head came into contact with another woman, who was running at a fast speed. 

 She raised her hand to acknowledge me and went flying past me. 

At that moment, my motivation to go on was affected. I had to pull myself together and remind myself that I was doing my best and that was good enough for me. 

I had a series of words of affirmation and I was back to the walking and running with my usual enthusiasm. 

Life is not a competition I told myself. I shall continue to run in my own lane and that I did. Far off I saw them at a junction go in opposite directions with the runner going in the direction I was taking.

 I did not see the runner again. There is an uphill climb as I head home, I push myself to keep going on the steep ascend. A young man came sprinting past me. 

“Well done Mamma, keep going!” he shouted as he went up the steep slope as if it was flat.

 Amid the heavy breathing, I managed to shout, “Thank you, you too!” I was rejuvenated again. Although I was getting to the end of my walk and run, the energy I felt was like I was just beginning. 

That young man was there to teach me, we are at different levels of our lives, but we are all living!

I remembered a time when I was with some peers, who were expressing how happy they were no longer menstruating and did not have to remember to put sanitary ware on the grocery list. 

When I said I was still looking forward to that day, they all turned as if on cue to look at me. Their eyes said it all, seriously? 

Still happily menstruating. I cannot skip the uphill and just end downhill.

The way some people who have reached certain levels in life look at those who are still to get there can be so demotivating.

Someone can even ask what could be wrong that I am yet to reach menopause!

The way they ask that, one would think they are the ones funding my menstrual period. 

Next time someone comments on my ‘still to reach menopause’, I shall take that young man’s words: Well done Mama keep going! As said before reproductive health cycles are not the same for everyone, some are walking, others are walking and running, while others are sprinting away! Allow each life to be lived differently!

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