Insomnia ridden evening already, but I wanted to share something.
I got a message from an old friend. I say old because, well, we go back a few years and well, he's getting older.
He tells me that he's still playing rec soccer and lifting. But that he's really feeling his age now. He's getting out run by kids he was smoking just a few years ago. He says his joints hurt, and he feels he's just not recovering as fast. Is there a "supplement" he can take to fix this.
I told him, that getting slower and losing ground to the "young pups" is an evolutionary part of life. It happens to all of us. No matter how much we never want to be an "I used to...", all of us that hand in there long enough will be.
I've written about so many "I used to" guys. "I used to bench 500, but then I was cattle prodded for 27 straight hours in a barn one evening and after that my left arm never worked quit right again."
Everyone and anyone who lifts long enough, runs into guys who tell "war stories" about what they used to do, or what they used to be.
Maybe. I guess it depends on if you're trying to hold on to your youth or not. It's not easy coming to terms with your own mortality. Swallowing the bitter truth that life has an up slope, and then a down slope. And that we struggle so long to climb to the crest of it, then are never fully aware of when you were at the top.
"I remember when I could bench 500, and squat 700. I remember when I won that bodybuilding show a few months later. I guess I didn't appreciate those moments as well as I could have."
Then we struggle so badly on the other side of the slope, to slow the descent as much as we can. We dig our heels in and throw a fit the whole way down.
"No, no, no! I'm not ready to be past my prime! I don't want to accept this!"
But it will happen. It happens to everyone. All of us. Senses dull, reactions slow, recovering takes so much longer.
There are things that can be done to slow that descent, yes. However a slow descent is still a descent. You are regressing.
I've read some articles lately about how to keep getting better, or how to improve after you've put in so many long and difficult years under the bar. And it's nice. It's nice to read. However no one likes to acknowledge that eventually the cold wind of father time will chill your bones and numb your courage. I've know it. I've seen it. Men become weary of the affirmation that their body, and even their mind, just isn't what it used to be.
Eventually, that cold wind whisks all of us away. And I wonder, if when that happens, that I will look back and be content with all of the things I've done. All of the ways I've loved people. Will I live with regret over not knowing when I was at the pinnacle, and not appreciating it enough, or will I smile knowing I simply survived the journey? I don't know. Maybe it will be all of those things.
Enjoy life today. Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow may never come. If you're not as fast as you once were, it doesn't mean you have to hang up the cleats, it just means you may have to accept your role as a lesser player than you once were. If you're ok with that, and you still love it....then play.
The acceptance of the inevitable is a beautiful thing. Now I don't need worry about those goals I chased so long enough. I can chase something new, something different. I can pour my life into something challenge and rewarding in a different way, rather than trying so desperately to hold onto something that has slipped away from me. Mainly, myself. "I" slipped away. The person I knew in the weight room, on the athletic field.......he's gone.
And when it's gone, say it has. Then decide why you are going to do the new things that give you happiness and pursue that with the same vigor you slang the iron for all of those decades. You don't have to quit lifting, but you do have to understand the body is not going to cooperate with what the heart and mind often want so badly still.
Sometimes acceptance sucks. So when you do, try to do it through a straw. Handling a little suck at a time is a lot easier than trying to fit it in your mouth all at once.