A spot of tea …. or muscle relaxant? Decisions, decisions. (Photo by Michael Freeman).
Have you ever been tempted to send a Christmas gift to someone that you’re publicly fairly cordial with … but secretly can’t stand? You know, the tie that — oops! — accidentally falls into the kitty litter box?
I’m not sure I have an enemy like that, so I won’t dream up more scenarios, but I will say this: if I did, I know exactly what I would send them: my mortality.
Ah, if it were only that easy to send.
When you go months, even years, in fine physical health, when you’re used to jogging up the stairs without catching your breath, and then you get mercilessly reintroduced to the concept of bodily pain, it can be a rude awakening to an otherwise pleasant daily existence.
“You’re getting old,” my friend and Freeline Media contributor Brek Dalrymple laughed as I struggled to sit down at the restaurant we had chosen for lunch. I had just finished describing the fairly intense lower back pain I had been experiencing for the past two days.
It took me by surprise – and probably shouldn’t have. I had just spent a week working at the Supervisor of Elections Office in Orange County, assisting voters with early voting. The position required me to stand for very long hours, up to 12 a day. It can leave your feet mighty sore by the end of the day, but my back felt fine – at first.
The first Sunday that I didn’t work, I spent countless hours on my living room couch. We got delightfully reacquainted.
And then, the next day I woke up and ….. wow. The pain was soaring through my lower back. Standing, sitting, and just plain old existing became about as pleasant as skinny dipping in the North Pole around the holidays. I felt torture might have been easier.
I found that in moments like this, folks have lots of advice to offer.
“You need to start exercising again,” Brek told me.
“You have a pinched nerve,” my friend and Freeline Media contributor Alpha Male Ryan told me. “You need to start walking again. That’s what’s going to make it feel better.”
It didn’t feel like my nerve had gotten pinched at all – more like it was used as target practice for a shotgun.
So, after applying massive globs of any muscle relaxant I could find, I began to ponder the issue of mortality. Funny thing, that aging process, the way it teases you with a long, healthy stretch, only to catch you off guard when you least expect it. It’s like the mean guy at the bar who takes an instant dislike to you, but pretends he’s fine with you, and is even a bit pleasant … until you’re out in the parking lot walking to your car, and – wham! He slugs you right in the jaw.
And it makes you wonder where you’re headed as those inevitable birthdays keep rearing their ugly head.
I suppose it’s not worth pondering – yet. Today, the miracle of BenGay has eliminated the pain, and I can talk, and hum catchy tunes, at the same time once again. I feel less …. impacted by aging? Is that a good euphemistic way of saying it?
In the 1960s, the Rolling Stones sang “What a drag it is getting old” in their 1966 hit “Mother’s Little Helper.” Of course, back then they had the benefit of being in energetic 20-something bodies. These days, I wonder how many pain killers Mick Jagger downs seconds before bolting on to the stage to croon “Start Me Up” …. or how long it will be before they all start singing “You Can’t Always Get Into The Nursing Home.”
As for me, I truly do wish the aging process was a “gift” I could mail to someone I absolutely dislike, only I have nobody on my Christmas list who fits that bill, and besides, there’s always yoga classes instead.

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