The Ravages of Linear Time

Things change, and we experience the result of change. But change is good, right? Not always. I suppose when it comes to biological life there are stages where change is good. We marvel at a baby’s first steps, or when a puppy learns a new positive behavior. But there is a continual downslide that we ignore.

I remember when in my youth I felt as if I could do anything, physically. At that time I probably could have, but things are different now. While I still feel relatively physically capable, I cannot help but observe the slow downward spiral all around me. It’s tough and I don’t like it.

Change comes from within. That deep statement was once a snarky comeback line of mine to someone on the streets asking passerby’s for spare change. Irene and I were vacationing in San Francisco and I must have thought the comment was funny, something I could laugh at. And I did. Interesting how something said to a complete stranger can bother me some 30 years later.

Change does come from within and I am a better person today than I was back then. I have learned to understand and feel sympathy and empathy for those who are less fortunate.

For years I was what one would consider as to be a ‘slave to my body.’ In my early 20’s I decided I wanted muscle on my rather thin frame. Through diligent and consistent time at the gym, I was able to get the muscle all right, but I did in fact become a slave to my body. I had to workout. I could not allow myself to miss a day at the gym. Five days a week, Monday through Friday. If I happened to miss a day during the week, I always made up the day on the weekend. My time at the gym was crazy and at one point I was going twice a day, once in the morning before work and then again after work. My time at the gym was now at 4 hours/day.

Near the time I was approaching 40 I knew this daily routine would not be sustainable into my 40’s and beyond so I backed-off somewhat and reduced my time in half. This kept me going for quite some time and afforded me two additional hours in the day for home life. Yet I persisted and although areas of my body was sending messages to ease up even more, I ignored them. Most notably is my right shoulder that needs a replacement, literally. Currently I am getting a cortisone injection every 6 months to ease the pain. And for the most part during those six months, there is a ‘sweet spot’ where I am pain free, before it slowly starts to creep back in. Pain or no pain there is always a grinding of bone to bone that I can feel. It’s a rather gross sensation but it is what it is.

There is more that include a leg/back nerve issue that has been apparent for nine months now. Physical therapy and exercises to build up the glute area have helped somewhat and I am waiting for the day of this to go away. Apparently this is from a past fall off my horse. You’ve heard the phrase ‘keep your eye on the ball,’ in my case it was a cow that I was chasing in competition that I needed to keep on eye on.

While this essay seemed to me to begin as a rather unintentional dismal entry, it has allowed me to better understand the big picture. This one took me days to write because I didn’t want to stay focused on a downward spiral, so I would just stop. It has been good for me to review and reflect on what is written because I realized that my areas of woe are First World issues. If I were in a Third World country, or even less fortunate area here in my own state, are these the things that I would be complaining about? My answer is a definitive NO!

Danish philosopher and prolific writer of her time, Soren Kierkegaard has written, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

Her statement is gloriously true. It is through our experience that we gain knowledge and perspective of our past, and of the bigger picture of life. Her statement alone provides a compelling argument to study World History. After all, we do all live on this planet.

I still use and reference the phrase ‘the ravages of linear time,’ but in saying that I am also humbled when I am reminded of the many gifts of linear time as well. I can rest on that.