Thursday, November 16, 2006

Aches and Pains

Getting old sucks to be sure, but as far as we can tell, it’s superior to the alternative, so one has little choice but to carry on, going more or less gently into the long evening which precedes that eventual good night we will all eventually bid the world.

Along the way, it’s inevitable that we will experience of a variety of aches and pains, the former, dull to throbbing, the latter, from minor to stabbing and everything in between.

Life is suffering, after all, and even though it’s not always intense—a long downhill with fellow cyclists after the right application of alcohol, cannabis, and caffeine makes it all feel much better—the human condition is one in which pain is inescapable—especially if you’ve got a job, kids, a mortgage, dreams, goals, ideals, or any combination thereof.

And it seems to get more so with each passing year.

This morning, for instance, as I jumped into my first caturanga dandasana, I felt a serious twinge in my right wrist. Why? I don’t remember doing anything to it. Did I simply lie on it funny? And is my body so old and tired that I can injure myself while sleeping?

Of late, I’ve also been experiencing this strange phenomenon wherein by bending my neck to the side, I can induce numbness all the way down my arm. Are my muscles retracting upon themselves? Will I eventually curl up into a body-sized fist?

Larry Livermore has written of feeling “considerably more than [his] age,” and while I’ve yet to have a medical procedure that lays me up and gives me too much time to reflect upon aging, the daily bumps and grinds of longer life certainly give me cause for reflection.

At the risk of sounding like Dr. Phil I would say: I can’t avoid the pain, but I can choose how I respond to it.

And I guess first of all, that means no more complaining.


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