I remember the time I had six pack abs, could deadlift 400+ lbs, could do almost 100 pushups without stopping (my record is 92… and those were legit pushups), and could do 30 pullups without stopping. Now I’ve traded in my six pack for a pony keg. I went from looking like Thor from the Avengers to Thor from God of War: Ragnarok (a game I’ve pre-ordered and am anxiously awaiting).
It seems “middle age” was awaiting my arrival with bag of assorted “old people” goodies. Let’s see, there’s the obvious slower metabolism, the aching joints, bad back, bad knees, bad hips, GERD, possibly arthritis in my hands, and slower recovery from workouts.
Hell, sometimes I throw my back out from sneezing too hard. Yeah, that happened.
I can’t blame it all on “middle age”… you know what, I hate that term. From now on, I’ll refer to “middle age” as MARC: Middle Aged Ridiculous Crap.
Okay, where was I? Right. I can’t blame it all on MARC. My weight gain may have also been due to my poor dietary choices. That’s because I overeat when I’m stressed. I also overeat when I’m tired. And, as it turns out, “stressed” and “tired” is my daily mode of operation.
Seriously, I’m tired all the time.
I still workout, but I can’t train like I used to. It wasn’t more than 5 years ago I was lifting barbells, flipping tires, practicing martial arts. I was training 7 days a week, sometimes twice a day. I could recover quickly, and I had a solid grasp on my diet.
Then things changed.
My body began to, well, get old. My family obligations increased. My workload began to increase. All of which I see as a blessing, by the way. Getting old is a privilege denied so many. My family dynamic is driven by love. And my skills are sought after, so I’m able to provide for my family.
I suppose my biggest complaint about MARC is having to adapt. In my particular case, adapting includes a lot of letting go. And letting go is hard. Really hard. Because it means letting go of things I love to do.
I had to let go of the barbell because I can no longer lift heavy. I have spinal stenosis, three vertebral bone spurs, and a curved lumbar spine. I also have a permanent anterior ankle impingement that keeps me from squatting properly. Luckily, I can still lift moderate weight, and I can still swing a kettlebell.
I had to let go of traditional martial arts. Because of my knees and ankle, I can no longer hold deep stances. Because of my hips and my back, I can no longer throw high kicks. But that doesn’t keep me from simplifying my self-defense training.
I had to let go of looking fit. Okay, “vanity”. I had to let go of vanity. I loved looking fit. I suppose that all stems from being overweight and bullied most of my childhood. I looked great. I felt great. And now I look soggy and feel old. It’s not easy to put on a smile and go about your day when you feel uncomfortable in your own skin.
There is one thing MARC hasn’t taken yet, and that is my choice. My mind is still mine. I can choose to adapt. I can choose to turn my limitations into strengths. I can choose to do better, be better, and work smarter.
But right now, I think I’ll choose a nap.
Until next time, ‘ver heil ok sæl’.
ᚢᛖᚱ ᚺᛖᛁᛚ ᛟᚲ ᛊᛇᛚ