Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Labour For Love

February 5, 2013
My body is the only body I have ever lived in and we have been trucking along for over 39 years now. We are more happy than we have ever been. There is nothing graceful about our jock walk, our athletic physique has taken away the fullness of our boobs and butt, and sometimes we hunger for a return to the days of whiskey and cigarettes and fast food. But that time in life though often fun was not at all fulfilling. Delicious empty moment like delicious empty calories. Intoxicating Instant Gratification.

Sometimes people ask me how old I am and when I tell them they say things like, "age is just a number" or "it doesn't matter, how old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?". I wonder why they feel the need to say these things. Why do they offer condolences for something I myself do not feel bad about? My age is my age. It is what it is. "A rose is a rose is a rose..." I take no issue with it. I  do not wish for less years.

It is similar to when I lose and people say things like, "you didn't lose, you learned". I did lose. It happened. She won, I lost. I do not feel sorry for myself. I do not run away from my losses or ignore them or let them destroy me. I stand face to face with them. My defeat and I, we talk we scream we push we cry we kick we punch we tackle we submit we reason we embrace we go back to training... and hope we will never meet again.

Pretending things are something else is not what I consider a healthy approach to dealing with life though it seems that is how we are raising our children these days. "Let's not address losing and call it by a less harmful name. Let's give everyone a medal for participation so all our kids will feel super great about themselves! Hooray!"

I understand why the young are flabbergasted by my age. When I was 16 I was asked by a teacher what I thought old was and I said with great conviction, 50. Fifty was definitely very old to me. My parents were 47 then. Way old.

It is a mystery to me though when those who have some years of their own are so concerned. I wonder what is going on in their own lives and their own bodies that they attribute to age that makes it so hard for them to believe that what I am doing is possible.

"Can't you fight women in your own age group?" - I am not interested in being the best within the parameters of a certain age. I am striving to be the best overall. I will fight as long as I am a contender.

"How does it feel to fight someone younger?" - It feels natural. It is all I know. They are who I train with. They are who I fight. You should ask them if I was an easy fight, if I was what they expected. Their experience with me is unique in their world. My experience with them is normal in my world.

"Do you wish you were doing this years ago?" - When I lament or reminisce I do not spend my time thinking about what could have been regarding fighting or other career choices or relationships lost or moments passed or anything else. My head is up. My eyes look forward. I place one foot in front of the other and I keep walking. I am grateful that I get to do this now.

"Isn't it harder now that you're older?" - No, I am more fit and more agile than I have ever been. In my youth I was more body than mind. In my years ahead I will be more mind than body. But right now I am enjoying the time in life when my mind and my body are in balance.

"How much longer until you stop?" - I am just getting started.

Baby, I am just getting started.

I am 39 years old and I am happy. I hope I will be able to earnestly say that on most of the days of the rest of my life no matter how the number changes or what ambitions I may be pursuing.

Adapt your dreams to where you are in life then adapt your life to your dreams. Whether you are 16 or 36 or 60. Follow your heart. Find your happiness. You will encounter obstacles and trials and doubt but also great rewards and hope. Love starves us and feeds us, hurts us and nurtures us like nothing else. Labour for Love. Your Love.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Rise I Will

I am trying not to think in retrospect. I am trying to let go of moments passed by as I cannot turn back time and choose differently. I am trying to convince myself of what I have been saying for years: It is possible to live a life without regret if we simply make the best decisions we can with the knowledge we have at the time.

photo by Min Kim
There were moments I could have done so differently. My ability to see and choose wisely were clouded by other things not within my control that if I explained would only sound like excuses. Ultimately none of that matters. I frankly did not seize the opportunities. A champion would have not wasted the chances no matter the circumstances. But I am not a champion. Yet.

And so I am telling myself to let go of what could have been so that I may let in the knowledge I need to become the fighter I will be. I am squeezing out the tears that get stuck below my "always be positive for the public" face and allowing myself to feel the kind of pain only heartache can deliver. Because letting go and ignoring are two different things. And though I have tried I know that all I think and feel and believe whether right or wrong cannot nor will not be ignored. They must be allowed to preach and holler and wail their disappointments as they leave my body.

And I am grateful. I am grateful when that wretched feeling of loneliness fills me because then I know I have hit the bottom. And though I will linger in emptiness there a moment I have lived enough now to understand that the moment will pass. And from the bottom there is only one direction to go. Up. And I will rise. Rise I will to be greater than I was.

And I tell myself again what I have told myself so many times before, After today there is always tomorrow and with tomorrow there is always new hope.

And then without sleep the morning comes and the blinds glow from the promising brightness of the rising sun.