I’ve always believed that age is a state of mind. Until a few days ago, I was pretty comfortable in that belief.
I still do all the physical things I used to when I was 25. The difference now is that it takes much longer to recover.
This was brought home with a vengeance a few years ago when my bride and I took our two daughters on a holiday to Noosa. I had just “retired” so was looking forward to a holiday that would herald a new carefree lifestyle. After running a series of Special Schools for eighteen years, this release from responsibility looked pretty good.
My youngest daughter enjoys all manner of sporting activity, so we made use of both the tennis courts at the resort and the nearby beach break. I had always enjoyed body surfing and decided to give her some expert tuition.
After a morning (about three hours) on the tennis court and an afternoon in the surf, the four of us (bride and other daughter as well) went to a restaurant in the evening. This capped off a perfect day.
The next day was not so perfect. I woke up stiff and store, and by lunch time could barely move. My whole upper trunk was one massive ache generated by protesting muscles which had done little for months except manipulate a keyboard, and load stuff in and out of cars. They had not coped well with hours of tennis and surfing, and were letting me know in no uncertain terms.
My lower body, on the other hand was fine, as at that time I was jogging daily.
These days I walk.
I had to take a rain check on daughter’s requests for more of the same, and the BMW Z3 we’d hired for three days sat in the garage. I couldn’t lift my arms to the steering wheel.
It took about three days for the stiffness and aching to subside.
I was reminded of this during the last few days. On Sunday I gave the MX5 a good cleanup. The easiest way to clean the interior is to take the top down, and use a vacuum cleaner whilst standing outside the car. As I bent over with the nozzle to access a particularly hard-to-find corner, something on the lower right side of my chest let go.
I’ve been in pretty severe pain since. My complaints have generated lots of advice from my bride to visit the quack, but I’m aware that this will probably not be useful, as it’s a matter of giving the torn muscle time to heal. I’ve been to my GP with torn muscles before, and was told – not altogether sympathetically – “You’re getting older, you know – you can’t expect to be able to behave as you did when you were 30”.
He needed seven years of study to tell me this?
This particular muscle seems to be employed in everything I do, from cleaning my teeth to bending over to retrieve something dropped, so it aches pretty much all the time.
I couldn’t even take the garbage out last night.