This Is The Moment I Began To Fear Aging

Note: this was originally posted several years ago and I recently found an old backup of those classic posts. Some of these I’ll repost and some have (mercifully) found their way to the great garbage can in the ether.

I’d like to share a personal story with you.

I was rushing down our steep basement stairs, my work boots were muddy and my heel slipped on the third stair from the top. I grabbed the handrail for support but both feet shot into the air. I crashed uncontrollably down the remaining 15-steps.

The death grip I took on the railing twisted my shoulder in an unusual direction but it was the only thing slowing my fall.

I didn’t let go. Still trying to stop myself with the hand rail, the fall stopped when my boots hit and slid across the basement floor leaving me stretched out, half on the basement floor and half remaining on the steps.

I released my death grip on the handrail. Tried to sit up. Celebrated that I could still move. Wiggled every toe, flexed my legs, shoulders, back and arms. Twisted my head back and forth.

Celebrated inside. Nothing seemed broken.

But then the pain started. It didn’t try to focus on a specific part of my body, it didn’t play favourites. It screamed everywhere. I struggled to stand. Did so. Did another check for anything broken or not functioning. Hobbled back up the stairs. The urge to get a tool had completely disappeared.

My legs, rear end and back were a brilliant shade of blue/purple bruise within a few seconds of me getting back upstairs. (and yes, I did get the ice/heat rotation on right away). I did stretching exercises, or rather I tried to do stretching exercises, to minimize the eventual damage but the real problem wasn’t physical.

Sore as I was, and I was very sore, the real problem was my confidence. Did I really fall down the stairs because of a muddy boot or was I “losing it”due to aging.

My head said, “muddy boot” but there was a quiet, sly voice saying, “Really, it wasn’t that muddy boot. Was it?”

It Was A Cheap Lesson

In retrospect, it was a cheap lesson. I didn’t break anything and now I walk down stairs instead of running. I hold onto handrails whenever possible.

But that fall marked a moment when I turned from a mentality of not considering the consequences of a physical action to a much greater awareness of how I pushed my behaviour.

It installed fear as part of my physical operating system.

I’m able to hold that fear at bay but I know it’s there now. It sits watching me as I work. It asks questions when I fire up the chainsaw, slip beneath the water with a scuba tank or yes, particularly when using stairs.

That fear speaks with the same voice as the one whispering about forgetting where we’ve left our glasses or keys. It’s the same one that drives us to make copious shopping notes and joke about, “If it’s not written down, it’s not going to happen.”

It’s why we carry our pseudo-memory phones, keeping calendars and to-do lists right at hand. It’s why we panic when we misplace our phones.

That voice is quiet but insistent. It wriggles into the cracks of our lives to paralyze some and caution others.

Three Things Worth Mentioning About Aging

The first is that while you don’t get to decide if the voice appears, you do get to decide whether you’ll listen to it. And more importantly, you get to decide if and when you’ll take its advice.

Or not.

The second is that aging isn’t an easy thing to acknowledge or accept. Some do it much better than others.

And the third is we need to remember this is a blessing and not a problem. We all know those who didn’t get to share our journey, those who died far too young. They’re the ones we might try to remember as we focus on our own problems.

“Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

Dylan Thomas

p.s. Several years later, I remain cautious on stairs and I’m much better – but not perfect – at this “aging thing.” 🙂

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In Secret From The Covid Hordes

My writing, in all genres, has been much like my fitness activities. All have been done in secret from the Covid hordes. So much secrecy you’d never know it was happening. (hint: it wasn’t)

I’m getting quite good at blaming Covid for a lot of things (like forgetting I’ve already been writing other posts about the damned virus.)

But I Have Questions

Why did I gain weight?

  • I was following the Ice cream covid prevention diet. Don’t laugh, I didn’t get Covid did I?

Why did I start to grow a beard and then shave it off?

  • Covid made me do it (plus there’s a lot more grey in it now)

Why did that crazed driver cut me off almost causing an accident at 70mph?

  • He is a charter member of the Covid hordes car club and needs to drive so fast to get to a bathroom. (I had written something more graphic here but my raised finger will have to suffice for emphasis.)

Why I haven’t I published all the posts I’ve handwritten?

  • I read Covid hides in the spaces between the keys on my keyboard.

And now..,

Double-vaxxed and boosted, I’m struggling to reboot a normal life. And given seniors were in the bulls-eye for this thing (and I’m a senior) I’m a little gun-shy of all y’all.

I pushed my office chair back to the office from its former position blocking the front door from the hordes of Covid zombies I expected to invade at any moment. I’ve plugged the extension cords back in (they were used to power up the defensive alerts) and fired up the laptop (unplugged to prevent it from getting the Covid virus too.)

I’m on the last carton of ice cream and I sense a diet in my near future.

But I’m back, ever so tentatively, and the keyboard still works. We’ll have to see if I do.

What’s clear is I’ve written enough about Covid.

Time to move on. And my diet… sigh.

Stay safe folks. Get those shots and boosters.

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Don’t Start Your Seniors Fitness Program Like This

I started my Doug 5.0 seniors fitness programme off with a bang, setting the goals, starting the workouts, and learning (thanks to some introductory yoga videos), my body really wasn’t flexible.

At this point, I would have shared my goals with you. Indicated how many pushups, situps etc I was doing and inviting, encouraging you to join me at your own level.

Well….

My leg injury put me out of the picture for any kind of exercise – the pain was significant with just walking – never mind knee bends or supporting myself in pushup position.

The numbers of all those things are now zero or close enough to it that I’ve put that on my daily notes. I can do zero pushups, zero situps, zero squats, and …. You get the picture.

My fitness is so bad (and my leg still hurts a bit) that I hesitated to write this post, never mind share my embarrassing numbers. Seriously, I put off writing this post for as long as I could but then decided wtf, this is part of life so get over yourself and get on with it. In for a penny, in for a pound – as my grandmother used to say.

It’s Easy To Forget You’re A Senior

I forgot for a brief moment I was a senior and had to be kinder to myself (the little voice in my head has been unrelenting this past few weeks) when it came to limitations.

For example, here’s a link to my post on deconditioning or what happens when a senior loses fitness for any reason. I can confirm to you this process is very fast. Sigh…

A simple thing like my muscle sprain led me to lose a significant amount of muscle mass.

It’s humbling. Very humbling.

How’s The Leg?

It’s not 100% yet but I did start walking yesterday – it was sore afterwards and again this morning as I write – so I’m still taking it easy and not going for a fast walk (more like an amble) 🙂 But at least I rebooted the fitness project albeit at an extremely basic level.

In the coming weeks, I will (slowly, very slowly) expand the health and seniors fitness work and I’ll report on both the fitness and emotional impact of injuries “soon.”

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