The Changing Tide

To know me is to know that I am often having a conversation with myself in my own head.  Maybe that’s why I like being alone, my thoughts and I really do have a good time together.  I have a conversation going these days about how its ok to be a late bloomer…because that’s what I’ve been calling myself a lot lately.  I’ve said it before, but there are parts of me that feel 22 and parts that feel 55.  I love the wisdom that comes with age but I know I’m not the first one to think, “I wish I could keep my 43 year old brain and have my 22 year old body.”  That sentiment is ringing true when it comes to the sports I still like to play as much, if not more, than when I was younger.  My 43 year old mentality is so much better for sports, it knows how to grind, is far less timid, incorporates my mind into my game, pushes through pain and let things go quickly.  My mature self plays for my own love of the game, not for any accolade or because of any expectation put on me.  Endorphins, friendship, stress relief, fitness…each one is enough to get me moving and make volleyball, swimming or yoga a part of any day. I don’t need a bigger stage or reason, and the thought of not being able to do these things makes me scared. 

Injuries are part of sports, but in the last year they have caused me to modify my schedule, have knee surgery, and listen to my body…and I can’t say that I haven’t fought it. My sage of a yoga teacher Jeri told us one day in class that ailments in our bodies are meant to slow us down and take inventory…that thought gave me a good cry because like almost everything I encounter in sports, it has a life meaning as well.  Slow down and feel it is what she was saying.  Man, sometimes that is so hard. The good part about my injuries (besides making it much easier to pass the anatomy portion of my yoga certification because I have spent enough time with my own aches and pains and figuring out where they stem from) is the people that I have met who do a great job holding me together.  From my yoga teachers, to my soft tissue guy Frank at The Center, (who jokingly calls himself my enabler, which is not too far from the truth) and movement guru Cynthia at The Center for Movement & Fluency, who I met when she worked some of her magic on my youngest, Matthew, that then spilled over to me, these people have become my friends and partners in keeping me moving in the way I love and I couldn’t be more grateful.  They understand the importance of the mind body connection…some people use shopping for therapy, I forgo that and go straight to these guys.  I’m inspired by their continual learning and desire to get better at what they do, and, I like to challenge them with my high arches, lack of dorsiflexion in my feet and ability to compensate in some pretty unhealthy ways!  

I’ve been around long enough to know that we teach what we know…it happens whether purposefully or not.  Having kids grow up active and learn how to be healthy and take care of the bodies they have been given is so important to me. Learning how to compete, be coached without defensiveness, be a good teammate and be mentally tough in tight moments are all things that I have learned (and am still working on) from playing sports that have given me wisdom, joy and some amazing relationships and, because of these experiences, I am better equipped to pass these lessons on to them. My body will tell me how long the mix of activities gets to stay the same, but life has taught me, I’m adaptable…so I’m going to keep getting better in some way, on and off the court, and we’ll see where we go from there.