Reconciling aging and fitness

You will find me out doing hard physical exercise seven mornings a week, well before dawn. This habit built over 35 years.

At least twice a week, I am in the pool, swimming laps with a squad. Currently, I am struggling to make peace with my age. Despite my best intentions, I am getting slower. It has happened quite suddenly. No matter how much effort I put in, the speed is not there.

I have been contemplating this. 

Of course, everyone ages. Everyone slows down. I am no exception. It is hard medicine to swallow, particularly when it arrives quite suddenly and brutally as if some tap has been turned off.

I also note that my desire to compete, mostly with myself, is far less than it used to be. That edge has been dampened. In other words, I am choosing to push less.

I am reconciled to this. I have joy in my life. Pushing hard constantly in my sport is no longer a desire. I do push during every session, and enjoy these moments. But the entire session? I am not sure I want to, yet alone can.

I consider this tension, between age, pushing to stay fit and reconciling with slowing down. I know that if I completely capitulate, and stop pushing entirely, this will come at the cost of my fitness and strength.

I am determined to age strong. Strength is more important to me now than speed.

Perhaps this is the sweet spot between the tension. The focus on strength, with cardiovascular fitness, but not speed? 

Ah, life. The arc of age keeps us in the dance, if we choose. I choose. It is constant re-calibration. And at every turn, humility.

Photo Taken May 8th 2021