Working up a sweat about getting old

Getting old is mandatory. Growing up is optional.

Age comes into play more often than one might like when that age is 73 years. I felt it Saturday after two-plus hours of mowing on my hillside yard and then hoofing it up and down hills in a 1.8-mile walk from our home to Sweeney’s garage at 1660 Floyd Hwy N.

Had to pick up our Jeep Liberty that needed new tires and some other repairs to pass inspection. Barry Sweeney finished up the inspection late Friday afternoon, but I was unable to get over to the garage until Saturday.

The hour-plus walk in a 75-degree temperature late afternoon left my legs sore, especially the one held together by rods, braces and pins from the cow-motorcycle encounter just over 11 years ago.

The humidity hanging over Sandy Flats, Harvestwood and U.S. 221 left me drenched in sweat.

A return to the gym at Floyd Fitness Center helped make the walk a little more tolerable but gone are the days when I often walked a 10-mile stretch from the U.S. Capitol to our then-home on North Fairfax Drive in Arlington. Like any venture out in Floyd County, a walk in Arlington brought some hills, particularly the one rising from downtown Roslyn up Washington Street to the Courthouse District.

But I felt old when I got home Saturday after the hike over to Sweeney’s Garage. The old bones and muscles just ain’t what they used to be.

I will turn 74 before the end of this year, and I feel the age more than I’d like. I also wince when someone I know dies at an age younger. Not only that, but I lost a former girlfriend from my single days in Alton, Illinois back in the 1970s. She died a few weeks ago at age 66.

My best friend in high school, Gary Shockey, died not long after we moved from Arlington to Floyd. He was two years younger and that was in my early 60s, Good friend Tom Ryan was 10 years younger when he died of a heart attack in 2013.

In 2012, I tried to cash out with the motorcycle-cow accident on Nov. 9 of that year. The surgeon who put me back together called my recovery “a walking miracle.”

Halfway through the trek over to pick up our car, Saturday left me wondering if that miracle might be running thin.

Still, we have friends who have more miles on their age odometers. Good friend Greg Locke, who has survived more motorcycle accidents than me, is several years older, and he can bench-press a hell of a lot more pounds.

Mark Twain said: “Age is a case of mind over matter; if you don’t mind it, it doesn’t matter!” Legendary baseball pitcher Satchel Paige said pretty much the same thing many years later.

“Growing old is mandatory,” says an old quote mistakenly attributed to Walt Disney. “Growing up is optional.”

I can subscribe to that advice.

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