Feelin’ Mortal


I remember when I used to be young and…well…wore stupid looking hats…?

This week, there’s a new movie hitting the theaters called “Immortals.” I don’t really know what it’s about but the trailer makes it appear to be about the Greek gods and a war on humanity. Lots of bronzed skin, burly pecs, buxom brunettes and big, manly weapons.

Anyway…so I’m watching this trailer and I realize that, unlike the actors and actresses in this film who have Hollywood to make them look beautiful and…well…bronzed, I have no one but myself. Where Hollwood-ites can bring out their personal trainers and clothiers and high-end jewelers and makeup makers and have all kinds of help maintaining their youth, I have nothing and it’s starting to show.

I had a friend ask me the other day how I am feeling. She suffers from back pain and she was curious if I had recovered from my previous “bad back” episode that resulted in 2 spinal steroid injections and the answer is YES. I have recovered in that my back no longer hurts the way it did a little over a month ago. But I’m not the man I used to be, that’s for sure. Not that long ago, I probably would have bounced back from a pinched or herniated disc. I remember it happening quite often when I was in my 20’s and early 30’s. I would go to a chiropractor and get it worked out. Sometimes it might take me a week or two but I would get back in place and then I’d be out playing basketball again in a Thursday night league or on Tuesday morning with my buddies. That’s just the way youth handles the pains that it’s given. It got fixed or fixed itself and then it was off and runnin’ again!

But not anymore. Now I ache. After this last episode, I still have tingling in the 2 toes on my right foot. Usually I can’t feel them very well. And if I lay on my right side for too long my right lower back starts to yell at me a little bit. I’ve been told by my family doctor, many chiropractors, my orthopaedics, a couple masseuses and many of my friends, family and neighbors that I should be getting up every morning and stretching my back out, doing yoga or pilates or whatever new pretzel-shaping exercise they have out there these days. But do I do them?

Nah.

Should I do them? Possibly. But for whatever reason, I just don’t. I don’t know that I would call it lazy because I do go to the gym and I get on the treadmill or the elliptical and I lift some weights, do some stomach crunches and then call it a day. Do I do a 3 hour workout session? Hell no. I’m just not very flexible and the thought of twisting myself into shapes that my body just refuses to do just makes me feel defeated. Do I feel tired? Yes. A lot more here lately. And do I ache? Yes…for many things. And do those aches make me scared in any way? Of course. And every day I feel more and more mortal.

When I was younger, I felt like I could do whatever I wanted. If I got hurt, I could bounce back. If I couldn’t make a credit card payment, I could pay it next week. If I wanted to stay out until 3am on a weekday, I could still be coherent in the morning. But now? Not so much. Getting older is such a bitch and I can’t say it’s an easy ride. I’ve gained some weight, I look tired. I see myself in the mirror and I have to wonder where my youth has gone. I see my kids just so full of energy and there’s a part of me that wishes I could bottle up just a little bit of it and drink it when I need it. But, of course, that’s not possible so I try to keep up. With my kids, with my bank account, with my work, with my social calendar, with my life and sometimes I feel like I have it under control but usually? It’s a ridiculous jumble of a mess. I feel like it’s a constant struggle, trying to balance so many things these days. Just keeping up with email has become a daily routine that takes up a good chunk of my life and I always thought it was supposed to make things easier but it seems that it has just made things more complicated! Think about it…how much time of YOUR day is spent on the computer or on your smart phone, accessing email or attaining information in whatever way and then having to actually rearrange your life to get it all done?

Before this post goes spiraling out of control (like so many of my long-winded “woe is me” stories tend to do), let me just say this to my friend who asked so innocently and who then said that she reads my blog and was curious about my back pain (and Thank You for caring Elisa!)…

I am doing fine. And maybe at this age being fine ain’t so bad? Well…except for my poor piglet toes. Dunno what to do about them but I guess they will always be a reminder that I ain’t the boy I used to be. I’m not saying I’m giving up…I’m just saying that, after looking in the mirror, I see a different man than who I was 15 years ago and that guy ain’t coming back. So now…it’s time to figure out who THIS man is. And THAT is an on-going adventure. To wrap up this moderately meandering post…I quote from a Toby Keith song called “As Good As I Once Was”…

I ain’t as good as I once was
Thats just the cold hard truth
I still throw a few back, talk a little smack
When I’m feelin bullet proof
So don’t double dog dare me now
‘Cause I’d have to call your bluff

I ain’t as good as I once was
But I’m as good once as I ever was
Maybe not be good as I once was
But I’m as good once as I ever was

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One Response to Feelin’ Mortal

  1. Amber says:

    I haven’t had feeling in my right toes in five years. I hurt my ankle at work and didn’t file an accident report so they wouldn’t cover it and neither would insurance. I now have something called tarsal tunnel syndrome from a bone pressing on a nerve. The more I stand the less I feel. Sometimes it goes all the way up to my knee. Point is, you probably have nerve issues somewhere and need to see a neurologist instead of an ortho. Love you Alan, and I think we just enjoyed life more than most and beat ourselves up. Think of all of your great memories your pain came from.

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