Home Improvement

Home. More than a place, it’s the state of living in blissful gratitude—a luxury after decades as a road warrior, where home was an airport, hotel room, rental car.

And even as life later pulled me along its bungee cord of obligation, caring for my mother in the island house of my childhood never felt like home.

Now, having moved her near me, I’ve found my home. I have a routine. I’ve said this before, but it’s been a lie. This time I’m different.

I write at dawn. Run the dogs. Take mom shopping. Spend time with my husband. Volunteer. Hike with friends. On evening strolls, I breathe in muted cheers of a softball game in the park, the thick mesquite of a neighbor’s firepit.

The rhythm of routine seeps into my soul. My soundtrack: the breath of home.

That Which Doth Not Kill Me . . .

It’s inevitable, living in the Valley of the Sun and working out. Even with pre-dawn runs, shorter morning swims, 50SPF and twice annual skin checks, it happens.

It’s easier when it’s an injury. As a marathoner, I’m used to them. Injuries force you to rest, reminders that you literally cannot take a pain-free step.

My recent surgery—removal of a squamous cell on my shin—is different. I’m not allowed to exercise. Even when nothing hurts. “Nothing to elevate your heart rate,” my dermatologist cautions. “The stitches must heal.”

Now the enemy is not just the sun, but exercise.

Two weeks of no workouts feels like forever. I’m restless as a caged animal. Exercise reenergizes me, inspires creativity. Self-pity tunnels me deeper into my head. So I’m forcing rest and gratitude. Things could be worse. And two weeks isn’t forever.