“How is your injury today?” said Mrs B2W. She was referring to the calf strain that halted my progress on the couch to 5km programme last month. I hadn’t felt it since well before Christmas. Sure, let’s do it. It was at her pace, slow but a nice pace for a first run in over a month. Maybe the melon committee thought that I was 30 years younger and pushed me too hard before Christmas. My legs revolted and sent an urgent memo to stop this nonsense immediately and be happy just running slower. The motion has now been accepted after this pilot. It was wonderful to be out in the fresh air, alone, chatting, away from rebellious boys, watching the dog dart in and out of the woods chasing squirrels…I think that my need for regular weight bearing cardio has found its happy place in preparation for the start of the cricket season in 104 days.
I am reading Being Mortal by Atul Gwande at the moment which has been revealing, even for this health professional. Expert opinion and evidence suggests that after the age of 30, our bodies slowly start to fall apart, systems slowly malfunctioning to the point of eventually breaking down. Eye lenses and arteries lose their elasticity, bones lose density, muscles become weaker…the list goes on. There is no stopping it, just acknowledgement that it is happening. We can only slow it through medical science, nutrition and regular activity. It is coincidence that I have been reading this during a period of abstinence from alcohol.
I had already made the committment upon reflecting on the turbulent excesses of November and December. I had been using it in a way to cope with problems that I didn’t want to face. Already I am noting the difference in the bank balance, mood, self control and acceptance of things that used to trouble me. It was a regular thing for me to abstain over Lent only to fall back into the cycle of binging, on food and alcohol in the summer. But I have begun to critically examine my long relationship with alcohol and am even toying with the idea on continuing abstinence altogether. It takes too much time and energy to plan to drink in moderation for me so why not take this as an opportunity to make it a lifestyle choice? After 18 days of feeling that I am missing out, I have come to the realisation that I have everything to gain and nothing to lose by continuing. It has become easier each day to say no, despite the occasional temptation, if I think like this.
We are starting to see the crisis of aging in society come into consciousness after years of being told it is coming. I want to be the person who ages with independence without vulnerability.
Or at least give me a better chance at it.
After writing this, I took a spin up to the supermarket to get some WD40. Did you know that it makes a great silicone sealant remover?