34

“Gone are the days when the ox falls down,
You take up the yoke and plow the fields around.
Gone are the days when the ladies said ‘Please,
Gentle Jack Jones – won’t you come to me?'” — Grateful Dead, “Brown Eyed Women”

I’m not 34 today.

Here’s my log entry from about 26 years ago – I just scanned for a bit and then grabbed a random page. See the distances and paces? I’m not 34 anymore.

34

I got a big dose of self-pity today while at the pool. It hit me pretty hard. I’m not 34 anymore. I’m never going to be 34 again – not in this life. Not when I’ll remember being old; the next time I’m 34, I probably won’t appreciate it any more than I did last time.

The self-pity hit me pretty hard – I’m never going to be fit again. I’m never going to be the slim, attractive studmuffin that made Ethel goofy enough to move from Tampa Bay to North Alabama. I’m never again going to run half-mile repeats at sub-6 pace.

It hit hard enough that I almost stopped swimming; just almost gave up and got out of the pool and sat in the hot tub. Almost.

It took me a bit to remember that self-pity is just another form of selfishness – self-absorption. When I did, I hit it with Step 10 and was able to recover enough from that heavy load to finish the workout, albeit slower than I would have liked.

I’m going to have to live in this new world. Apparently I have to get used to this new reality over and over. I can accept an EVENT once. An event happens, and self does its objections, and then I get over it.

But a PROCESS? It seems I can’t accept a process – instead, I have to keep accepting each new reality in the process. Today I’m older and slower than I was the last time I accepted that I was, then, older and slower than I was the previous time that I accepted that I was, then, older and slower than I was…ad infinitum.

So, today, once again, I have to live with it. I’m not 34.

Still.

Again.

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