I think we all recognize—if we really stop and think–that we lose some precious things as we move through life.
One important example, however obvious or even clichéd: as childhood gives way to successive stages of adulthood, many of us lose (or at least bury) our childlike sense of wonder…our thrill of discovery and feeling of adventure…our creativity…even our sense of unique individuality and possibility.
I’m not judging here, man – I’ve let some of all of this happen to me along the way. But I’m now really conscious of it and working to re-nurture these vital things.
Within this weighty and admittedly “touch-feely” topic, though, let’s zoom in on something more concrete and immediately addressable: not letting physical activities we thrive on drop permanently out of our lives.
Do you have something you “used to” do, that was really good for you physically and mentally…but which you don’t do anymore? This question spans “workouts” like running or strength training, and “recreation” like hiking or kayaking. Or even simple things like “walking there instead of driving.” Sadly, injuries and other physical factors, plus the constant squeeze of time from careers, family and technology/media, slowly but almost inexorably pressure us to let certain other important flames burn low or go out.
However natural and understandable this is, it has multiple adverse effects we don’t want:
⇒ Physical: we lose the contributions of that activity to our ongoing quest for endurance, strength, flexibility and balance – and the diversity of movement that’s so important to all-over fitness
⇒ Mental and spiritual (short-term): we lose how that activity makes us feel, whether that’s de-stressed and centered, exhilarated, non-vainly proud, contented, or some mix of these great feelings
⇒ Mental and spiritual (longer-term): with each thing we let drop out of life, we move closer to having the past seem richer and more alive than the present and future. This is a wistful “I used to…” lament.
I bet we’re on the same page about this, brother: when you think of it this way, this is NOT where we want to go (or as Maximus in the classic movie Gladiator firmly repeats to himself as his mantra, “not yet”)
OK, end of doom-and-gloom. Here’s the positive reality: A conscious and thoughtful OlderBeast brings things back into his life.
We’ve regained some control over our time (or we can, if we focus with resolve to do it). We appreciate the imperative for tranquility-of-mind, and joy, more deeply than we used to. And so, we’ll find time, and a way, to get back to some beautiful things that have gone dormant.
For me over the past few years, this has meant getting back into running. Being “a runner” is part of my basic identity…and something was missing when I wasn’t doing it. I had to figure out how to overcome a foot problem running was causing me…and I did. I also better accepted that it doesn’t serve me to try to run as far/fast as I did X years ago…reality accepted, and now onward.
Also, I love kayaking, but hadn’t done much of it for years. I recently bought a kayak and started paddling at a nearby lake 2-3 times a month. Getting the peace-and-quiet of the still water…seeing the water birds up close…all while being physical…it feels like coming home.
With your thriving in mind, let me ask: what should you get back to, man? What should you reclaim for yourself? You can do it (you owe it to yourself to do it) for its physical benefits and—vitally—its mind-and-spirit ones.
I’d love to hear your stories about bringing things back into your life!
“Oh I can hear it calling me…I said don’t you hear it calling me…the way it used to do?” (Led Zeppelin, Babe I’m Gonna Leave You)