Saturday, December 13, 2008

Gym Time

 I work out  4-5 times a week.  Sometimes I like it and sometimes it’s a living hell; anything is better than this!  I’m not sure when I got old I just arrived at this point in my life.

One day I was working in my organic vegetable garden, taking compost and leaf mulch from the woods and the next thing I knew I was running from angry yellow jackets and the next moment tumbling into the rich dark earthy humus, yellow jackets buzzing above me.

There I was in the proverbial hole which I dug, broken in more pieces than ever before.  I was alone in the woods, hurt badly.  I spent three days in the hospital waiting for the metal plate and screws (special order) to arrive.  The skilled orthopedic surgeon, Tom Klein, operated on day four; rebuilding my leg like Steve Austin.

Little did I know my ever walking again was in question.  I progressed quickly after spending  weeks in bed, and wheelchair.  I finally was given permission to walk around my house in a walker, vowing to fly fish by opening day in September.  After all,  I was basically in good shape!  Then a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) hit; I was now officially human. . . breakable, mortal and scared.  Borderline depression was creeping in.  I could die from this at anytime; boom . . . life over, time clock punched for the last time.

The point is, the karmic wheels turned and I found myself a man, rarely ill, rarely dependent on others, now an invalid, dependent, needy!

Did I mention I’m a proud guy too? This accident provided me many opportunities for growth, asking for help and depending on loved ones and friends for things I would rather do myself thank you!

Most men don’t go gently into middle age.  We struggle mightily, remembering past victories, conquests and beautiful maidens.

It starts with the first attractive woman who calls you “sir.”  You justify it as a mistake of youth and remind yourself not to skip going to the gym but to skip desert at the next rich meal at Chez Fran├žois or the Prime Rib.

The old saying “snow on the roof but fire in the hearth” pops into your mind but it’s fleeting.

The reality is: it has happened, here you are, now what are you going to do about it?

Which brings me back to the gym.  I have become my father when I first thought my dad was old.

I am 25 years younger than my dad and my daughter is 25 years younger than me.  So I know that look when she says to me … dad, watch what you eat, not so much candy! Are you going to the gym today? I hear the echoes of my youthful thoughts from years ago.

I don’t drink alcohol and haven’t for almost 20 years, I have led, for the most part, an active life, outdoorsman, fly fisherman and very strong from years as a carpenter.  But the last 10 years I have struggled with my weight in part because I am big, 6’3” and not drinking alcohol.  I have a sweet tooth.  I love Butterfingers, pecan pie; oh, the list is long and it takes so little to put it on around my waist.

My family also has heart problems. My dad is a walking miracle of cardiac science.  He was one of the first triple bypass recipients at Fairfax Hospital when Dr. LeFrac was just wet behind the ears.  Dad has since received a second and a pacemaker all within 25 years.

I justify my life as a sweets-loving big guy with all the aforementioned excuses but the middle age clock is ticking and I really have to work-out to maintain right where I am, 265 lbs!

So here I am, fresh from my work-out, feeling tired but alive, knowing that the gym work-outs are an important and integral part of my life.

This is my first blog.  Write and share your feelings about middle age and the opportunities it provides you.  We all need help and support and a good place to bitch about them!

 

Jeff