The morning is rough on my bones.
I have to ready myself before standing up, and after I stand, I have to prepare myself because the first step is painful and so is the second.
Next, I approach the steps, which lead to the bathroom downstairs, and though I am up and awake, my joints do not wake as easily.
I approach the top step and lower my left foot, and then my right foot lands on the same step.
Then I repeat, left foot down, right foot down, and so on, until I reach the bottom.
This must be how I learned to walk steps as a little boy. I know when I was half asleep and my eyes were mostly closed, I would walk the stairs like this on my way to bathroom visits in the middle of the night.
This is also how I walked down the steps during my drinking career. However, there were some nights when I found it easier to just sit and slide to the bottom.
There were reasons for me to walk down the stairs this way. But those reasons have changed to the simple fact that my body does not respond as it used to.
I recall watching a fight on television in which, the larger of two opponents was struck by a liver kick. He went down and the expression on his face said everything; he wanted to stand up, but he could not.
The fighter wanted to fight, but his body said, “No!”
After the loss, the fighter underwent a barrage of criticism. Of course, it is likely that those who criticized him most have never stepped into a cage fight, let alone, experienced how it feels to be in a physical competition.
“He’s done,” they said. “He can’t compete at this level.”
Meanwhile, the losing fighter had returned to the sport after life-altering surgery. He was also one of the biggest financial draws for the promotion.
He was the Heavyweight Champion of the World, and as an athlete, he had achieved more than most.
But he lost, and so the cheers turned against him.
I heard it said, “He’s too old now….he’s made his money. He should just retire.”
Physically, my body is not as capable as it used to be. I get that.
I take longer to heal and my reactions are slower than say, what they may have been 20 years ago.
I get that too.
My old friend Phil takes his wife to Lincoln Center during the summertime. I am not sure what night it is, but they play music, and couples pay a fee to go inside and dance to ballroom music.
Phil and his wife go too, but they do not pay. The music is loud enough to be heard outside, so Phil and his wife do their ballroom dancing near the fountain.
“No matter what age we are,” Phil Says, “Everyone needs to feel young.”
My body is not able to accomplish what it once could. I might not be fit to step in a cage match, or run an hour on the treadmill, but I do believe Phil is right.
I do need to feel young.
I am far from old. However, I am not physically young anymore.
My body has changed.
I suppose the early years or recklessness, and the years of crouching down, cramming into tight-fitting spots, and swinging wrenches have not been kind to my joints.
I have not played hide and go seek in decades. It has been just as long since I went on a scavenger hunt, or bounced on a trampoline. I cannot remember the last time I played kick the can or swung on a rope.
But, so long as I have the desire in my heart and someplace to dance
…….there is always a way to feel young