I have been feeling my age more in the past two months than I have in quite awhile. Pain and limited mobility will do that to you. So will illness and loss. It’s been o.k., though. I have never minded my age. I do my best to keep myself healthy and sharp, and to do whatever I can to make it another 42 years or more. That is my goal, of course, to make it to 100, in as good a shape as I can. Up until these past couple months, I could always see that being no problem at all to do.
My usual amount of activity – yoga in the morning, keeping fairly physically active all day, taking the steps in lieu of the elevator, getting out and walking as much as I can – I do a lot of walking just going between offices and going around to meetings at work, in our huge, sprawling complex– and playing competitive softball at least twice a week, has been curtailed quite a bit because of my sprained knee. While it is coming around, it’s still not 100 %, and still limits my ability to do things like yoga. I don’t even do my usual daily stretching exercises, as the doctor said to hold off on stretching that leg until it’s fully healed. I’m doing my best to follow the doctor’s orders, because I want this thing to heal, sooner than later.
I hadn’t played any softball for close to two weeks, until last night. That’s the first Thursday night game I’ve played, as I was limiting myself to Sunday night games, there were scheduling conflicts with Thursday nights, and we had a rainout last Sunday. So, I had grown a bit rusty from my lack of regular playing. I got 3 decent hits, but usually have more than that. I flubbed my first couple of plays in the field, but then found my groove, and made a few really good ones. One was especially sweet, where I had to go hard to my left to field a ground ball, then wheel around and throw against my momentum as I was falling backwards, to nail the runner going into second. Might have been the best play of the game.
But, after running hard a couple of times around the bases – when I’ve played on Sunday nights, I’ve been having people run for me when I got on base – I was really feeling it. Both the asthma, and the knee. On the Thursday night team, especially, I’m the only old guy – the rest of them are in their 20’s and 30’s. Last night, I felt like the old guy. Most nights, half of them are trying to keep up with me. I still held my own – but I did feel like the old guy playing with a bunch of young guns. None of them seem to see me that way. In the dugout, it’s all about the team, and encouragement to do your part – age is irrelevant.
Driving home, I had a moment of “Oh, shit!”, when my knee really started to throb with pain. But, I had an ice pack in my cooler bag, threw that on the knee, and by the time I got home, it was fine. Didn’t even need ibuprophen, which I’ve stopped taking for it, a couple of weeks ago. Now, I’m on allergy medication for my allergies, which is making me sleepy and, again, making me feel old.
So, now I’m encouraged that I can slowly begin to resume my normal level of activity. Slowly. I don’t want to set my recovery time back by overdoing. If I can, I’ll still let someone run for me on Sunday night. It’s just that, now I’m feeling like this is just a temporary thing, until I’m fully on my feet again. Thank God!
It has taught me some valuable lessons, though. Despite what I think in my logical mind, and what I say about aging, I really don’t like it. I don’t want to get old. I don’t want to act my age. I still have a youthful outlook on many things, tempered with experience and just a touch of wisdom, mind you, but I’m not old and crotchety and set in my ways. I don’t plan to be. I have an open mind. I mean to keep it that way.
For me, physical fitness is an important part of that. When I am able to be more active, I am going to try to remember what this two months was like, and use this to drive me to do what I have to do become more fit. This all happened from an accident that had nothing to do with fitness – I slipped and fell in the ice and snow – and that kept me from doing what I normally do this time of year to get myself more fit - but, I take it as a cautionary warning. Use it or lose it. And, I am not ready to lose it.
(First photo taken by my grand niece Noelle – “Make a scary face, Uncle Pete” – pretty scary, huh?)