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My husband, Jeff, took this photo from our hotel balcony.

Altitude.

Oh, how I hate it. Yesterday, I admitted out loud, “I am really having trouble breathing … because the air is thin … and I am not.” The thin air up here in the mountains gives me headaches, doesn’t allow me to walk for more than a few blocks without gasping for air, and humiliates me by making me feel even fatter than I already am. I have trouble sleeping, either waking up gasping, or having to take as deep breaths as possible for as long as possible. I also feel sluggish, stupid and sleepy. But that last one could just be because I don’t sleep well.

I have never handled altitude well. As a teen and young adult, I lived in Denver for 14 years before moving elsewhere, but I remember very well the time my friend and I were climbing up steps toward a lookout point at Rocky Mountain National Park, and I looked up and there he was, at the top, seemingly without too much exertion, and there I was, huffing and puffing, pulling at the railing to get myself up.

“How’d you do it?” I asked him, once I caught up with him and caught my breath.

“Oh, I just forgot to stop,” he said, modestly.

And now, as heavy as I am, it has not gotten any easier, although I have been living back in Colorado (this time around) for the past 20 years. It’s as if my blood has not thinned at all, and as if I have not been taking those low-dose aspirin for years. Honestly, it’s embarrassing.

True, I am out of shape. I started exercising again, but not that long ago, so I can’t say I’ve regained any semblance of the shape I used to be in. But I make myself a promise, right here and now — I am throwing down the personal gauntlet — that by this time next year, in Breckenridge, I will be in a much fitter state of body.

As far as the mind goes, it’s all a matter of attitude, isn’t it? Will next year bring a better altitude attitude? Tune in to see.

Written by

Writer and storyteller, immigrant, wife, mom, knitter, collector of jokes, lover of cheap, sweet wine.

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