Thursday, April 20, 2017

Like A Scientist

I've been struggling, for years now, with not being in sworn service. It shows up here on the blog, but it's more evident in the times I can't or won't or don't write. In private conversations. Or staring out over the horizon.

Teaching is fun, and (on paper) life is amazing. Four countries this year already and a new one day after tomorrow. Of the classic travel lines (Arctic and Antarctic Circles, Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, Equator and International date line) I've crossed all but one in the last six months. Amazing home, ardent love. Life is amazing. But for the last few years it has felt muted. Dull. Adrenaline makes life feel more real, and none of this ever has or ever will feel as real as going head to head with a bad guy or heading off a riot.

K and I are experimenting with new things this year. Simple things mostly. Have had most of a week to talk to Toby and spent the night before last in a sleeping bag without a tent north of the arctic circle. I feel transition coming on. A good one.

We all age and change. And, can't speak for everyone, but I suspect it's common-- there's a tendency to focus on an image of the past. Sometimes it works out. I trained so hard in martial arts because long after it was true, every time I looked in the mirror I saw the tiny, scrawny kid, the smallest kid in the redneck school. But most of the time, it's almost like we focus on whatever will make us feel worse. Or maybe it's just me.

Bragging alert: At my peak, I got the physical fitness awards from both Army BCT and the Academy. I could do over 110 pushups in 2 minutes, did a 10:50 2-mile, hand-over-hand a 10.5 mm climbing rope. At 5'8" I could jump and grab a basketball hoop and once kicked the net. That whole time, I thought I was weak and small.

And whining alert: Now over 50 years old. Lots of injuries over the last fifteen-- knee, elbow and shoulder dislocations. Long term effects of concussions. Some arthritis from broken fingers. Bones out of place in feet and ankles. Spine acting up making the hands spasm and go numb...

I've been looking at the past as a lost thing. News alert, the past is always a lost thing. Can 55-year-old Rory ever be 25-year-old Rory? Of course not. Trying to get back to a past physicality is just as toxic as a violence survivor who thinks that who they were before the incident was the "real" them and measures their progress by how far they retrogress to that "real." It's bullshit. It's a bullshit way to think. It's.Not.Useful.

 Can 55-year-old Rory ever be 25-year-old Rory? Nope. But, you know what? Nobody has any clue what 55-year-old Rory can be. No one knows what the limits are. It's never happened before. This is something to explore, not to plan. I've done the fighter thing. And the teacher thing (Don't worry, I'll continue that for a bit). The next transition will be to scientist, experimenter and explorer. What's possible? What's fun? Already feel my inner world shifting. This is going to be an interesting ride.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Can 55-year-old Rory ever be 25-year-old Rory? Nope. But, you know what? Nobody has any clue what 55-year-old Rory can be. No one knows what the limits are. It's never happened before. This is something to explore, not to plan."
>>> Soon to be 65 years old. Work ~50 hours per week. Deadlift ~450# @ 160. Roll BJJ for 2 hours, 4 nites per week. My wife tells me to act my age, and I tell her that I don't know how to do that, because I've never been this old before. Bottom line -- chart your own course, and don't accept any limits that aren't imposed by basic physics.

--david

Maija said...

This is exciting :-)

Tiff said...

"The next transition will be to scientist, experimenter and explorer. What's possible? What's fun?"

You mean, you don't already live this perspective?

I wonder... when we have moments of clarity and think that we can finally see where we're going in life, maybe it's really just that we can finally see where we ARE, what we're in the middle of...

The European Historical Combat Guild said...

We all need a change.. the question individuly is what is that change.. my dad and I have done similar things and he pretty busted up at 77... some luck some bad luck and lots of hard use... gives me an idea of what to do...
Read an interview with clint Eastwood last year still working in his 80s fit etc.. they asked him what his secret was... he said dont let the old man in...

Jake said...

Interesting.

Going through some transitions of my own right now. I know a few other people who are looking at similar things. Maybe it's something in the air.

Josh K. said...

Cool. Can't wait to see, or hear about it.

Jim said...

Jake hinted at it.. It's a cycle. (And the adrenaline of being a LEO is something else... I'm sure you're familiar with Dr. Gilmartin's book and work... There's a reason that you don't see people volunteering as accountants or tv shows and movies focused on the thrilling world of software engineering...)

I've spent years saying "I'm not an athlete. I'm not a gym guy. I'm a martial artist, I'm this or that..." Wait. I mountain bike (and the youngster is finally getting to where I can take him on dirt!). I've played a number of sports, coached a few too. I've been going to the gym regularly for most of the last 25 years, with a few breaks. Well, darn... I am a gym guy. I am an "athlete" (whatever the hell that means).

We're all getting older, we all pay the dues for the things and choices we made as we get older. But -- like you at least alluded to -- different doesn't mean bad. Kasey posted about this recently, too... The thing is to make those changes the ones you want them to be.

And -- yep, got some work in those areas myself.