Use it or Lose it

545513_10151068901303949_1177005509_n Although I hate to admit it, I’m old by no matter what measure you could come up with. Besides being old, my body is pretty beat up from years of doing all kinds of sports and assorted dare-devilish activities.

During my life I have suffered at least six concussions (At least that’s how many I remember), a broken collar bone, ankle, various fingers and toes, a badly broken (which believe it or not I set myself) and a broken wrist that it needed pins inserted into it to keep it together while it healed (I tried to set that one while dazed but couldn’t). I have also torn tons of muscles and ligaments and got my ankle crushed while working on the docks when I was in college.

On top up that I have arthritis and hurt most of the time except when I’m in the water.

Now I’m not telling you this so you’ll feel sorry for me. It’s just the facts and such things happen to folks who have been around a while especially if they participate in sports.

People often ask me, as I often do myself, what with my advanced age and with all the injuries and stuff that’s happened to my body, how is it that I can still surf and play tennis at the level I do?

After giving it much thought I believe it comes down to three things, first of all I still get a thrill out of doing those things, secondly, I still believe I can do those things and lastly, I keep doing them and try and stay in shape so I can.

At the very core of it I believe it comes down to the old axiom of “use it or lose it”.

It’s tough enough when we are young to stop doing something for a long period of time and then be able to do it well again when we start up again. But it become a lot more difficult the older we get to do things well again, especially at a high level.

I can relate this to my own experience. When I was younger and even well into my late thirties I played a lot of ice hockey. I could skate fast and make a hockey stop on a dime. About ten years ago though after a long period off the ice I went skating and could not pull off a decent hockey stop to save my life.

As another example, I taught snowboarding for years and was the lead instructor at the resort I worked at and was the one who taught the other instructors. This winter, after a layoff of seven yeas, I went snowboarding again in fairly icy conditions. In the past those conditions would have been a cake-walk for me but on the three days I boarded, while I managed to board pretty well and never fell, at the same time I was very tentative and on the edge so to speak most of the time.

I suppose then, the lesson to be learned is, if you love doing something and want to be able to continue doing it as well as you can and for as long as you can then you have to keep doing it.

Although I have been using a sports analogy, I believe it applies to almost everything we do whether it be art, writing, crafting, cooking and I think it even applies to things like loving, listening, forgiving, being tolerant of others, enjoying sex  and tons of other things.

I know it might sound corny but I really do believe that our hearts can become hardened like muscles and bones if not used properly.

I know all too well that at some point, despite how much I stay involved with the things that I love doing, that my body will break down to the point that I can’t do some of the things I love to do. I suppose that’s all-right as long as I enjoy them as best I can for as long as I can.

The one thing I hope I never lose the ability to is to Love.

Thanks for checking in and I’ll look forward to hearing from you and seeing you back again next time.

Aloha and a shout out of love.


About authorpaulhayden

Author, artist, screenwriter, environmentalist. husband, father, surfer, surfing instructor, volunteer.
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