There’s a quote from “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”, “Argue for your limitations and they are yours.” Quotes like that can be both inspirational and maddening.
“Act your age”
There’s truth in facing facts, but sometimes creativity comes from flying in the face of them. Sometimes discovery, sometimes inspiration … sometimes cracked ribs and a possibly lacerated spleen.
Quotes can inspire you. They can also get you into trouble.
“You’re only as old as you feel”
That’s the one that ended with my doctor saying, “You could have a lacerated spleen” and dashing me off to an emergency CAT scan.
Was I ignoring my limitations? Was I acting my age or was I only as old as I felt?
Being a native Floridian, my winters were spent at the beach … snow was something of legend and I grew up only experiencing it twice. A dusting, but – in Florida – a dusting was front page news. So, after 50 some odd years, I was now in Northern Virginia and winters here were actual seasons! There were ski resorts just a couple of hours away, and it wasn’t long before I was geared up and ready to go.
I knew nothing about skiing of any kind. Not water, let alone snow. It wasn’t long before mental enthusiasm met with physical reality and towards the end of my first afternoon skiing, I took what would be my most spectacular fall of the day. I spun across the run, like one of those fidget spinners, eyes closed (how would seeing improve the situation?), hearing and feeling bits of gear being ripped away, the swishing crashing sounds of underbrush and finally the solid thud of hitting an immovable object.
Cautiously I opened my eyes, the blue sky of the open run replaced with green trees and a bit of fencing. I didn’t feel any injury, just cold and wet from being half buried in snow. On the drive home, my side began to ache. I ignored it as simply sore muscles. But after a week where the slightest movement resulted in significant pain, I finally saw a doctor. He never said, “At your age…” but it was implied. The two cracked ribs were not implied, they were quite real. My spleen, thankfully, was fine.
So, are you “only as old as you feel” or should there be an * at the end of that platitude? Where’s the line between “young at heart” and the emergency room? What should we seek adventure or play it safe?
If we believe too much in our age, we might miss out on new adventures or never discover a new activities. However, if we throw too much caution to the wind – we might end up seriously injured, or worse. We don’t bounce as easily or recover as quickly as time goes by.
Argue for your limitations and they are yours … just remember to argue both sides, for and against …
and don’t be afraid to act your age because you’re only as old as you feel!