We celebrated another family birthday today. One of our teens has ticked their odometer another number forward. As I am approaching 50 years of age, I can't say that time is being kind to me. While trying to find images for this blog post, I stumbled upon an image of my father and grandmother. They have both departed from the living. Grandma lived into her 70s. Dad barely entered his 60s.
Grandma had bad knees. She could predict bad weather by the pain they caused her. At some point, she gave up her forecasting job, getting her knees replaced. She told me about her painful recovery. She called her physical therapist all kinds of names during her sessions. But, eventually she was up an about. She probably would have lived longer had she quit smoking and took better care of herself. But, considering that she lived into her 70s, I don't think she was cheated.
My other grandmother also lived into her 70s. Her major ailment was diabetes, along with complications that come with that. She had a hard life in the emotional sense, starting from her youth. She grew up in different times that were not as relatively kind to women as they are today. I think, ultimately, she is at rest.
My Dad, on the other hand, mostly was a victim of hard living. In addition to smoking, he consumed other substances to excess. He became disabled in his 50s from heart disease. And, he had to stay in a nursing home in his final years as he was unable to care for himself. I feel that he was cheated of a full life.
With three children of my own growing out of their nonage, I am starting to see my own dotage in the distant horizon. I am certainly starting to feel the miles traveled. I am starting to feel the compounding damage of a motorcycle accident I had as a teen. My medical checkups have been telling me that I need to change how I live to avoid certain trouble down the road. I have developed a hernia. And, I have become sensitized to heat.
The last thing I would want is to exercise and lift weights. But, I don't think I have a choice. I know for a fact that things aren't going to get better on their own. Continued neglect will only compound my afflictions.
I suffer the tendency towards thinking. I am reminded of a quote from Bruce Lee.
If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you'll never get it done.
There is still so much that needs doing in my life. I know what needs to be done.
Some years back, I had one of those Scarlet O'Hara moments. You may remember the scene.
As God is my witness, as God is my witness they're are not going to lick me. I'm going to live through this and when its all over, I'll never be hungry again. No, nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat, or kill, as God is my witness I'll never be hungry again.
I was in a bad place financially and emotionally. But, it finally became too much. A switch flipped somewhere inside my soul that gave me agency over my life. Since then, things improved and kept improving. My only regret is that I wasted so many years getting to the point where I decided to do something to improve our lives.
With respect to my health, I can't wait to get to that moment. If I do get to where my maladies are consuming me, there may be no coming back. I have enough health now. I am able to make things better before they get bad. I have been reluctant to endure the pains and discomforts inherent with exercise. But, something that is becoming apparent is the relative nature of pain. For years, my hip has caused discomfort to the point where I could not run for too long. These days, my knee and ankle are demonstrating that my prior discomfort has been minor compared to what they can cause. I don't even think about my hip anymore. I guess that's the "Check Engine" light. Things can definitely get worse to where I could not exercise, even if I wanted.
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.- Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
And, with time, there comes an understanding of things that had little value in our nonage. We learn to better appreciate that which comes from effort, for everything starts to become an effort. We start to appreciate health as it is not easy to keep. We appreciate family as it is not always easy to maintain relationships. We appreciate God as we have wandered for years without Him.
Time is different. It used to slip by. I am starting to feel it. There is a constant current that pulls us towards that horizon. There is no going back to redo. There is no going back to revisit. It is constantly carrying us to new terrain, new obstacles, and new blessings. We dare not look back lest we drown in recollection. And looking forward only shows us that looming horizon.
I can only take care of what is before me while the current of time brings me to it, then on to the next. Experience make it simpler to overcome challenges. But, time is making it more difficult to continue using my worn out tools. It is a bitter irony that as our skill improves, our ability to use it diminishes. Time weathers us as much as it does mountains. It etches us and grinds us down into the sands of the hourglass. Eventually, the current of time will take us out to the sea of eternity. I can say that I'm learning to appreciate obstacles and bends that hamper the journey.