by Janine McLearon
Glamor Lake, July 2018
I turned 50 in 2017. I have been overweight all my life; but it was inactivity as I got older that resulted in a certain level of inability. There were periods of time where I dedicated myself to healthy levels of activity – running, biking, walking, exercise routines, however I didn’t maintain them long term.
In March 2018 things clicked into place for me. I can’t really say what did it for me, maybe it was the milestone of turning 50, maybe it was seeing my mother at 75 with very limited mobility and a shrinking world. I was inspired by Instagram stories of women working diligently to overcome similar and even more significant obstacles and I decided that if they could do it, so could I. After an amazing winter vacation, I began a journey dedicated to better health.
I would need to add a lot of activity to my daily routine and it is that activity that makes me feel stronger, abler and committed to staying active. Regaining fitness feels great and I will continue to work towards being healthy and comfortable in my body. I no longer have the feeling that my weight and subsequent in-ability to do some things holds me back as it once did. When we were away on our winter vacation in Providenciales for my 50th birthday, I had thought that snorkelling with humpbacks would be the ultimate life experience and perfect for a 50th birthday trip. As the time for the trip drew closer, I realized that the inactive, heavy person I was, just couldn’t picture herself doing that; so she didn’t.
For the past eight years we have rented a cottage near Haliburton. This is our 6th year on the north shore of Glamor Lake and 9 years total on the same lake. It is a beautiful, peaceful spot to rest and rejuvenate. Across from the cottage is a large island. There are no cottages on the island, it’s good for a short kayaking adventure and there is occasionally some visual entertainment. There is a rope hanging from a tree over deep water in distant but clear view from our dock. Several times a day we see people, mostly kids I think, climbing up the rocks and swinging from a rope into the lake. We hear hoots and hollers and it sounds like they have a blast jumping from the rope. I have thought for a few years that I would be a really cool thing to try, but again, just couldn’t picture myself doing it. Last year, just before my 50th birthday seemed like it should be a good year to give it a go; I didn’t feel capable, so I didn’t do it.
This year was the year. I feel stronger and more able than I have in a long time. I had a close look at it a couple of times when I was paddling past in my kayak; I wondered if I could get out of my kayak at the site, and thought that it was possible, but, decided that it wasn’t something I could do by myself. A second person is needed to use a long branch to push the rope up to the jumper. My partner’s son was keen to give it a try. I was worried that it would be hard to get out of the kayaks on a windy day, but he paddled over and got out of his boat and on the island without any trouble, so I joined him. There is a rope that you use to help climb up the steep rock face to the jumping off point. That part went well and seemed easy. I was shocked when I got to the base of the tree and saw how high up it was and what was entailed in grabbing the rope, suspending my body weight and taking that leap of faith.
Another family arrived at the tree at the same time with three potential jumpers. Three young boys aged about 10-15. It made me feel a little better that they were nervous to jump too. The middle boy went first, and it took him a few minutes to work up his courage. My partner’s son went next, he did well but also took a moment to mentally prepare. One of my concerns was would I know when to let go? Both the young men that went before me said it was easy, so that concern was dispelled.
My turn. I grabbed the rope; my primary concern was could I hold my body weight long enough to get over the water, and oh boy it seemed so high up! I took several deep breaths, one of the kids said it helped him to count down, so I counted down from five. Five, four, three, two, one, wooooooooooooo …. Adrenaline rush, long fall into the water and splash down. I climbed back up the rocks and did it one more time. It wasn’t a lot easier the second time, but I guess I just wanted to prove to myself that I could do it again. Twice was enough and I’m glad that I did it. It feels like I am capable, that I have recaptured something and that being more active, healthy and fit, has given me options. Now I do feel like I could snorkel with Humpbacks.
Janine is a veterinarian working in the regulatory field. She lives in London Ontario in a busy home with her partner, two dogs and two cats. Janine expresses creativity through cooking, woodworking, and photography. As she moves into her fifties she is committed to being active to maintain her health and ability to experience life to the fullest.