Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Aging with partial grace

I am getting older. It is unavoidably true. As such, I am slowly beginning to fall apart. Listing the various specifics of body parts that no longer are as resilient as they used to be, or to list the various aches and pains that afflict my rapidly decomposing carcass would be too long and, frankly, too depressing. 

However, amid all that there is one thing I am intensely grateful for on a daily basis. I learned a long time ago to enjoy physical exercise. In the past it didn't matter what the activity was, so long as I worked up a good sweat and had to put in significant physical effort. Today I have to be much more careful and precise with what type of exercise I participate in, but I nevertheless still feel a significant internal drive to maintain a reasonably fit and healthy body.

I take my father as sort of an anti-role model. He is a very good man in many ways, but from a physical health perspective, not so much. Oh, he has some very definite genetic problems that have not helped in the slightest, and I have inherited in the same genetic way many of those problems. However, my father was never much for staying physically fit in any time that I've ever known him. I understand he was quite the athlete when he was younger, but it was never something he showed to his children.

I look at him now in his 70's and I see how much difficulty he has even getting out of a chair....and I do not want to be like that. My wife would joke that I also have difficulty getting out of a chair, and she would be absolutely correct. However, I can also still hike with my children, I can swim and play with them, I can, at least a little, keep up with them. This is a blessing beyond measure. It takes dedication and work on my part. Because of other physical problems I have to work constantly to keep those problems from becoming disabilities - but I don't mind putting in the work and I've learned from an early age to enjoy putting in the work.

So, today I'm grateful for having been taught and having effectively learned how to remain physically fit and active. I hope my children will also follow after and find ways to keep themselves active and fit throughout their lives.

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