|what's the story?|
Getting older is weird. In many ways you know yourself very well, and can predict with a fair amount of certainty how you will react in any given situation.
But in opposition to that, you change in a variety of ways, and this can lead to unanticipated and surprising responses in oneself.
For instance, as your physical robustness diminishes, and recovery gets harder, motivation to make challenging demands of yourself naturally diminishes with it.
That may seem a bit rich coming from me, given both my recent and imminent adventures, but I can explain it!
One of many things I have learned over the last few years is that it boils down to a choice:
You can either do nothing, be weak, and feel achy and uncomfortable from the inactivity...or you can push yourself, be strong, and feel achy and uncomfortable from the activity.
I choose to override the temptation to take it easy, and instead to go and do stuff that will hurt later, but in a good way. The satisfying pain of weakness leaving your body is infinitely preferable to the dull, unpleasant ache of lethargy.
The choice, to me, appears to be - liberation, or stagnation.
Doesn't even seem like there's a choice really, when put that way, does it? Isn't it a no-brainer?
Before you 'cuse me, I think it's fair to say that my strenuous activities and adventures are not borne of a boundless zest for life, and overflowing reserves of excess energy. Quite the opposite, I have to fight the disinclination to get out of bed, and the general tendency towards idleness and lethargy, and roughly countermand the voice of caution in favour of the call of the wild.
I have to make myself go out and do stuff, knowing that I'll enjoy it and be glad I did it later, even when that idea seems infeasible at the time.
So when I got up this morning and opened the curtains to be greeted by this beautiful crisp, white landscape, I was initially surprised to find it was so cold (it didn't feel it). But at the same time, I was taken aback at the unexpected beauty.
Equally unexpected was a desire to go out there in the frosty morning. Where on Earth did that come from? For my whole life, my response to such experiences would have been "brrr, freezing, can I go back to bed please?"
So what's changed? Part of it is ageing, I have to admit.
But it's also down to suitable clothing. Anna and I have recently discovered the amazing benefits of technical outdoor apparel, made using modern manufacturing technologies and space age materials. We've found that the layering system really works if you understand it and apply it, and that a basic understanding of the body's thermal regulation abilities helps too.
I now have a range of clothing that is warm, strong, light, robust, with lots of features, and for the most part, fits me well (which is a novel joy in itself). I find myself looking for an opportunity to go out wearing it! Weird...
And consequently, it no longer looks "cold" out there, and in fact instead it looks crisp and clean and pleasant and inviting.
Driving home this evening, I reflected on how fortunate I am to wake up to such a lovely view (or at least the possibility of, or potential for such a view). Even in the bleak mid-winter, it's still a joy to live here in the countryside.
Then I got home and Anna said, "Oh, before I forget, something died in our bedroom somewhere. It stinks. Can you see if you can find anything?"
So yeah, mostly it's a joy to live here...