When I was about 21, a baseball player who was my age (within a month) made his way to my favorite team. That was in 1982. Over the years, I watched his career flourish and always felt a kinship to him.
Eventually, he retired. When I see him now, it is clear he has let himself go physically. I suppose that, having become a millionaire through his physical prowess, perhaps he became tired of the grind of working out to maintain fitness.
Everyone has their own priorities, and the decision to forego exercise for the purpose of fitness is neither a character flaw nor out-of-the-norm for most. Still, were I to decide that my body was something I no longer need to care for, it would be throwing in the towel for me.
One of the best advertising slogans of the 1960s was “Rust Never Sleeps”. Indeed. The aging process stops for no one. I have found, though, as with most things in life, that aiming to do something positive is easier and more fun than trying not to do something negative. I realize I may never duplicate the physical achievements I once had, but I am not ready to stop trying.
An essay I was reading about fear made me realize what a great asset it can be to a full life, when used properly. As C. JoyBell C. said,“Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.”
Someone once asked me if I were afraid of dying. My reply then was the same as now: I am afraid of not having fully lived. And for me to live, I have to know that I have nurtured and cultivated my body to the best degree I can. It need not measure up to anyone else’s abilities or standards. If it doesn’t measure up to my expectations, however, I would be greatly disappointed in myself.
And it’s that fear of disappointment that gets me out of bed at 4:50 A.M. so I can meet my friends at 6:00 A.M.
A couple of weeks ago, a friend and I, due to circumstances, left for our run at 4:30 A.M. It was cold and dark. We saw no other pedestrians, and only one vehicle. As I rumbled on for 16 miles, I felt the clear freedom of discipline. A river is most powerful when it has strong, narrow banks to channel its energy.
My desire is that I might always have the discipline to channel my energy. Rust never sleeps, so we, too, must be ever-vigilant to be at our shiny best.