Losing a step

[ed. note: It has been very quiet here for a couple months.  My appologies.  No excuses…. perhaps this is an opportunity for me to ‘step up’?]

If you’ve lived long enough to know yourself rather well, to know what your body is capable of (and not capable of), then you may realize when the bones and sinew need more attention than you’re currently offering up. You’ve likely heard some sports commentator suggest that an aging athlete has ‘lost a step’. It wasn’t misplaced. The other guy didn’t steal it. It’s just no longer there.

On the issue of paying attention to your steps and taking care of your body over the long haul so that you keep some semblance of health… it seems to me the costs go up with time. I don’t mean there is inflation, I mean the exercise and effort to maintain a certain level of performance seems to have increased. Working smarter, not harder is good advice. And I’m also a big fan of practice to develop technique. But these older bones of mine are less inclined to go along with the will to do certain physical activities that once were second nature – almost automatic. Healing seems to take longer as well; aches and pains seem to arise at the slightest insult.

I recall my elders, when they were at a similar point in their lives, talking about their aches and pains. I now better appreciate why it became a topic of conversation as common as the weather. Griping about aging and all its foibles doesn’t help turn things back, but I suppose there is a small mental health benefit to it – a temporary cleanse of built up unpleasantness in the cobweb spaces of the brain.

Step aside young sir… an old curmudgeon coming through

What to do? What is the next step? Redouble efforts at exercise and practice to get that wayward step back? That’s one approach. But then the brain reminds you that you’re going to lose it again in time. No stopping the clock. Learn to deal with it. Easier said than done, but this is where I’ve seemed to settle. Now when various risks to my body present themselves, risk such as walking on an icy surface, working extended hours in the hot sun, working around equipment when tiring… risks that my younger self might have easily ignored… I find myself deliberately searching for sound ways to avoid even the most modest slights to myself. This extra level of attention to such risks also takes a bit more time… still more losing of steps. But if that’s the price I must pay, so be it. Step lively.

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5 comments

  1. Nicely put, Clem. A wise level of acceptance. Although, so. many. years. your. junior., I’ve been keenly aware of something similar recently. The heat and humidity that I could routinely shrug off, the ability to just dig in and power through any amount of physical work, all seems to be catching up and placing limits. Now, of more concern, is that I’m still able to outwork any 16-21 year-old who works alongside me. Their general level of fitness is pretty low. Where will they be when they turn…?

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    1. I’m not convinced that fitness is the whole of their problem. Attitude appears to me to share a significant part of the cause. My hunch is that for want of a better attitude their fitness suffers from lack of exercise. And there may also be some culpability shared by their parents and other elders who don’t push them to get off their seats. So yes, where indeed will they be when…?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Fair point, their mental fitness seems lacking, as well. As Mr. Berry points out, farming requires smarts.

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  3. Sorry to interrupt regular service to investigate an internet issue, but here is a potential googlewhack:

    siderophoric expressionism

    There is a timing element involved… which I might need to reevaluate at another time. If anything more than idle curiosity comes of this, you’ll be the next to know.

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  4. Always seems to be variability among people in both attitude and ability to power through discomfort associated with work. I’ve always had more of the former than the latter. No doubt the two attributes affect each other. Easy accusations fall on those who have squandered both (or failed to develop either).

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