When asked how old I am, I often respond, “Older then the hills and twice as dusty.” I’ve now ridden the pale blue dot around the sun 61 times. I’m increasingly cognizant of the fact that the lines on my face have become more deeply etched, gray hair more prevalent and arthritic pain a welcome morning companion…welcome in the sense that it reminds me that I’m still among the living. The doctor within me has derived a remedy of increased strong coffee consumption mixed with larger doses of old-age-denial.
Admittedly, aging has had some diminishing effects my climbing performance. The warm-up process takes longer. The need for rest between burns on harder projects is increasingly prevelant. The frequency of attempts I can muster on any given day has declined. Shortened climbing sessions are essential for injury prevention. The number of rest days in a week now exceeds climbable days. The tolerance for temperature variance has been reduced significantly. I find it much harder to warm up on cold days and easier to burn out on warm days. Essentially, my comfort zone is now somewhere between 71-72f, which gives me about half a dozen “comfortable ” days a year, more or less.
I’ve made some interesting observations about life over the past year, most prominently regarding the recent national election. I fear those folks who made the choice to support our newly incoming batch of leaders may have purchased “snake oil”. Best of luck ingesting it with hopes of curing what ails you. I feel like we, as a nation, have not learned from past mistakes. I hope I’m proven wrong, but the next four years are going to be tough for most of us, except perhaps the snake oil salesfolks. I predict record profits for their kind.
To end on a positive note, I’d like to share an eloquently written passage from Aldous Huxley’s book, Island. I love the simplistic nature of basic Buddhist principle, which can powerfully enrich the lives of those who are receptive.
“Eating, drinking, dying – three primary manifestations of the universal and impersonal life. Animals live that impersonal and universal life without knowing its nature. Ordinary people know its nature but don’t live it and, if ever they think seriously about, refuse to accept it. An enlightened person knows it, lives it, and accepts it completely. He eats, he drinks, and in due course he dies – but he eats with a difference, drinks with a difference, dies with a difference.”
My loose plans for trip 62 around the sun include, but are not limited to, continued attempts at following my bliss…climbing, breathing, bending (yoga), traveling, sharing life with Maggie and working gradually toward building our Kentucky retirement cabin in the Red. I hope to continue learning from my mistakes (despite being an old dog!), attentively living in the moment, eating/drinking with a difference (avoiding snake oil at all costs) and not dying with a difference anytime soon.
Namaste, my friends!