Pushing Back "Can't"

There are days when I work out when I feel immortal, invincible, strong.

Today was not one of those days.

Oh sure, I got in my swim. Did a good one, too. I’m glad I did it and even feel slightly smug I got my lazy butt up at 5:30 in the morning to do it. (Normally, I don’t have to do this, but I’m teaching all day today).

I don’t feel all godlike and rarin’ to go. Nope. I feel creaky from being on my feet all day yesterday. I feel achy ’cause today is Arthritis Hell (sleet, cold… blergh). Nearly scalded myself trying to get the shower hot enough to have the heat seep into my bones and joints a bit.

Today’s workout is the bleak reminder of the “negative” reasons why I work out. Oh there are plenty of positives. It often feels great. Many days after a workout, I feel all tough and energized and all that smack. But a lot of why I do work out is to postpone the day when I can’t.

I’ve had arthritis and creaky joints and all that crap since I was quite young. A wheelchair by the time I’m fifty would have been a very real proposition if I didn’t work out and stretch and what have you.

And then I think how lucky, how astonishingly and amazingly lucky I am. I have something I can do something about. I don’t have a disease where I can’t move. I have never had an injury that couldn’t be fixed. Yeah, I hurt an awful lot of the time. But I can still swim. I can still lift. I remember the mind-boggling frustration of being on crutches for six measly weeks when my got my ACL and a meniscus repaired, and what that did to my outlook for that short time. If that had been permanent? I don’t know if I’m mentally tough enough to handle that with any level of grace. I used to think I was, but after actually experiencing a relatively minor incapacitation for a short time, I’m not so sure.

So every yard I swim and every pound I lift pushes back that day when “can’t” becomes a reality. I don’t like to think about that. It’s a scary proposition. But it’s also rather real.

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