As I age at two years shy of 60, my athletic prowess and drive seems to dim on a yearly basis. I was on the treadmill this morning and I began to wonder if age wasn’t the only factor that may affect one’s ability as we get on in years. My youngest daughter told me that my ex husband (who is 5 years younger mind you) just went on some winter hiking trip. I was pretty impressed.
He also still does some pretty hefty running races, bikes for miles and miles, did a few triathlons last year. While me, well, I didn’t get on my bike last year. And my desire to run and really waned. I walk/jog now. It just hurts too much. I seem to like quieter and easier things.
But I thought about some of the people I know that still have the drive; thought about the differences in lifestyles between them and me. My ex for instance is a software engineer. He makes big bucks, has a cushy job, big house, goes on lots of vacations, a wife and a nice lifestyle.
As a paramedic, I’ve never made great money. My hours are long, the stress is high, the work is physically and emotionally demanding. It has been for almost 20 years. While there are occasionally some sweet moments, they are honestly rare. I take few vacations, partly because money is tight, but also because of logistics where I work and the commitment I feel for my job and community. I live alone, so the burden of my household falls on me too.
It made me wonder the toll this has taken on me and my body and my psyche. How has this ground me down over the years? Coming home now I feel no great desire to rush out and go for a 3-5 mile run anymore like the old days. I work out before work, but even that is tough. I get up at 4:45 am in order to do my workouts and never miss a day. But they are much more mellow.
I’ve always noted that a triathlete’s lifestyle is one of luxury. One can hardly be a pauper and have the time, resources or money for races to be able to participate. It takes so much training and equipment even just to play at it! And every year it gets more specialized and commercialized with someone waiting to rip off the uninitiated.
Back in the day a race cost $5.00 or 10.00 for a running race and maybe $25.00 for a triathlon. Now you need to take out a loan! It’s nuts. I don’t even go anymore. Who needs another T-shirt and an orange just for the privilege to run 3.1 miles? No thanks–I’ll just do it on my own!
So maybe my body, my lifestyle, my poverty is all just rebelling against what I used to find so important. Those endorphins coursing through my body in massive amounts just seemed so necessary to my survival. Now I would rather sit quietly and see if I can meditate for more that 10 minutes.
As my whole life seems to move more and more towards less and less, it seems this is true even in the physical realm of my life. I once considered myself quite the adrenalin junkie. Not that I would say I’m in bad shape for an old lady, but I’m quite content now taking it all a bit more slowly.