I got up this morning at about eight am and headed to the park as I usually do on Saturday. With my busy schedule and my tendency to be Distracted by Shiny Objects, most days, I only do some of the items on the list I casually refer to as my Morning Practice but on Saturday, I like to try to do them all, which means most Saturday mornings, I’m here until noon. No, the list isn’t that long but even in the park there are Shiny Objects. As always, my intentions were good this morning. My mother used to say with some regularity that, The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I guess either Mom was wrong or I’ve lived up to enough of my good intentions to stay North of Hades.
One of my Saturday intentions is to take the three mile walk around the park with my camera in hand. Between the park flora and the park flora, several photo ops usually turn up, allowing me to exercise both these old muscles and my creativity. Of course, stopping to take photos does slow down my pace per mile, which annoys the Runkeeper app on my phone. She would like me to set a new personal best every time I walk. What’s that? Oh, she’s a she because she has a female voice, a very officious and bossy one if you must know. But this morning, when I got out of the car to throw away my empty MacDonald’s coffee cup, I felt a sharp ache on the inside of my left knee and just a while ago when I needed the restroom, the trip wasn’t so much a walk as a hobble. So there will be no camera walk today.
Thirty years ago, in my running days, I used to have to run 20 miles to earn an ache like that. I remember running along the river trail about eight miles from the park, minding my own business, when some bozo passing on a bike said, You’ll ruin your knees doing that. Maybe he was right and my ache today is a vestige of all those gruelling runs in my forties. But how about the stiffness in my shoulders last week or the soreness in my lower back the week before? Maybe this old body is just wearing out.
I started Older Eyes – Bud’s Blog six years ago with a post titled Feeling Older. Nothing makes me feel older than the Unearned Aches and pains that show up in miscellaneous body parts with no explanation. Staying active helps keep them at bay, as does stretching, but activities sometimes add their own aches to the mix. Somehow, earned aches seem more pallitable than unearned ones. I think when we are in our thirties and forties, we look at the old people around us and think that we will be different, that we’ll take better care of ourselves or have better medical care … we’ll never be the old guy limping to the restroom or groaning as he gets out of the car. Wrong, Younger Eyes. If you live long enough, your body will eventually feel old. Don’t kid yourself, you will be that old guy. But here’s the good news. You can still be a happy old guy. Take my word for it.