With age comes wisdom…
It also comes with decreased skin elasticity, cranky joints, graying hair, a slower metabolism and hormonal swings that make you and everyone else around you wonder if you’ve gone batshit crazy.
As my favorite crazy red-headed aunt (the one who can drink me under the table) says, “Who in the hell thought I’d live to be 82 years old?” I expect her to be saying that for many years to come.
I suppose that at some time we all decide that perhaps we should have taken better care of ourselves when we were younger.
As I approach 50 (late next near, I’m not quite 49 yet) I’m discovering many things about getting older.
One of them is that it shows us the error of our ways in regard to our youthful indiscretions.
Such as, laying out on the beach tanning in the hot SoCal sun, using baby oil and iodine instead of sunscreen; yeah, my skin is loving that now
But the thing that’s been getting to me lately, is the aches and pains.
I’ve always been an athlete. According to my mother, I never learned to walk, I crawled, stood up, ran and never slowed down.
I was also a serious tomboy.
I was constantly falling out of trees, off bikes that were too big for me, taking headers off my skateboard or taking tumbles playing roller derby (no helmets, no pads, no regrets) on hard concrete sidewalks. I mean, those skates with the metal wheels that split in half from over use were named “Roller Derby Street King Skates” what else were we supposed to do with them?
As I grew up and wasn’t under such “tight control” [giggle... snort] of my mother who desperately wanted me to be “lady” (seriously, I did attend “charm and etiquette” classes which occasionally come in handy) I started crashing motorcycles and falling off of horses.
I’ve spent most of my life using and abusing my body by beating the crap out of it.
I spent most of last week and this weekend trying to deal with a back that’s out of whack.
I’ve been sitting in the hot tub, using the Ma Roller, stretching, purchased a new mattress and got a massage.
When my friend Sonia, who owns the spa where I get my massages done reminded me not to wait so long for the last one because my body has been through so much (moving, heavy landscaping/yard work, two falls down stairs in the new house, never asking for help lifting heavy things) I realized just how badly I have abused my body.
Here is an annotated list of the abuses my poor back has suffered over the last 48 ½ years
Aforementioned tomboy activity
A bad car accident when I was 17 (not my fault) in which the car that hit me from behind was going so fast that it smashed the bed of my truck into the cab and my head knocked out the rear window.
Working on ranches breaking horses and tossing bails of hay around that weighed more than I did.
Thirteen years of hauling 300 pound guys out of their bathrooms (you’d be amazed how many people have heart attacks on the toilet) and/or hauling heavy people and gurneys/litters about of difficult places as a paramedic/search and rescue technician. Repetitive heavy lifting is one thing, heavy lifting when it’s impossible to use good body mechanics trashes the body.
Almost as many years fighting wildland fires, carrying heavy packs/chainsaws for days end on uneven terrain.
A shoulder dislocated by a horse that didn’t want to go into the horse trailer
The other shoulder dislocated by a half crazed, testosterone laden FBI defensive tactics instructor that I pissed off in class.
Another car accident where a car I was riding in was hit head on at an intersection and then we spun around and smacked another car. As the back seat passenger, I didn’t have a shoulder harness so my head took out the side window.
Picking obese people up out of the snow while trying to teach them how to ski.
Wearing heavy kevlar vests and duty/weapon belts (some smart officers now use a from of suspenders to transfer some of the weight of the belt away from their hips)
Rowing 2,000 boats through class IV whitewater. (and loading unloading boats and gear)
A river guiding accident where one of these boats fractured my spine and pelvis (yeah, that was 24/7 pain for two years)
A third (still not my fault) car accident where I was side swiped by a car load of teenagers on I-405, spun out across 5 lanes of traffic and hit the concrete median head on. (the laundry list of injures for that one is too long to list)
After all of that, training for marathons and triathlons
Backpacking with very overweight packs.
Moving entire dump truck loads of Tagro by myself.
I’m sure there’s more, but those are the “biggies” and/or “chronic abuses”.
So yeah, occasionally my back acts up.
Getting old is not for wimps; then again, neither is truly living one’s life.
Some of that “wisdom” aging has imparted on me?
Buy a good mattress
Secure a job with good health insurance
Get a good massage therapist
Soak in a hot tub whenever possible
Stretch, do yoga
Have no regrets, it’s been one heck of a ride so far.