I used to run up and down three flights of stairs carrying a load of laundry or a shopping bag, with my cat zigzagging between my legs. Now I hold the handrail, look down at every step, and wonder if it was a mistake to buy this townhouse.

Last year when I sent the kids gift cards and cash for Christmas, I remembered past October days when my sewing machine hummed and my kitchen filled with fleece fuzz as I sewed pajamas for my grandsons, nephews, and nieces. On Christmas Eve, seeing them lined up — Harry in soccer fleece, Jack with guitars, Gavin with kittens, Dylan with hockey, Piper with horses, and Haley with skis, gave me a flush of pride. They all rode home in pajamas tucked into their snow suits.

Now that my gnarled fingers tremble threading a needle, I put my sewing machine away in a guest room closet along with a skill I’d practiced since I was nine years old. No gift card or fifty-dollar bill will ever give me the pleasure of those sweet smiles snug in their fleece.

I was always eager to experience new things. I canoed and backpacked in Minnesota’s boundary waters, learned to ski and to play soccer in my late thirties. Went parasailing in Mazatlan, climbed in the Tetons, and hiked at Lake Tahoe. My sense of adventure defined the person I wanted to be. Now when I decline a catamaran snorkeling trip or a helicopter flight over a volcano, even a new venue for a yoga class, I see the disappointment in my daughter’s eyes.

For years, running was the one thing that allowed me to avoid the deterioration of age. The physical strength of my legs, the endurance of my heart and lungs buoyed me. Running was the way I watched seasons change among the trees and the birds. It gave me time alone, outdoors, moving, breathing salt air. Now since I’ve stopped running, I feel a pang of envy in my chest when I meet a runner on the boardwalk where I’m walking my dog. Like I’m missing something I should be doing. I loved the anticipation of shivering shoulder to shoulder with runners lined up for a race. And then, after breathing heavy, pushing my legs pounding my feet to the pavement, reveling sweaty with my friends at the end. Winning didn’t matter, finishing was all I needed to feel triumphant.

I won’t be competing in the Memorial Day 5 Miler that I’ve run for ten years. Will I ever feel such triumph again?

I’m still here in this body but I feel fragile, uneasy about what capacity will be next to go. What will steal a passion I’ve enjoyed for years? How will I remain the person I want to be?

Sherri Wright is a member of the Rehoboth Beach Writers Guild and the Key West Poetry Guild. She walks her dog on the boardwalk, and volunteers for a local food rescue. Her work has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, Dreamer’s Creative Writing, Persimmon Tree, Ocotillo Review, Delaware Beach Life, Raven’s Perch, and Quartet.