Thursday, August 21, 2014

Body and Soul: Fear Factor

Last week I went on a hike with a friend of mine who is about ten years younger than I. As we hiked along we got to talking about the things we do to help keep us looking young. Her with her face cream, me and my Botox. We laughed at ourselves as we compared beauty secrets. I admitted to her how vain I had become as I aged. If my finances allowed I would probably do more to suspend the aging of my face.

My friend has always been active either with her dog, yoga, pilates and continuing her education as a dance therapist. She amazes me with all that she does in her life. As we hiked along I asked her when was the last time she went mountain biking. I knew she used quite a bit but a few accidents had set her back. The thought of trudging over rocks and dirt never appealed to me which is why to this day I kept my wheels on the asphalt. Still I could live vicariously through her experiences. She told me she hadn't been biking in a long time. Too many bad falls had taken a toll. 

I found myself thinking of activities I enjoyed but no longer participated in. I thought of how much I loved to ice skate when I was younger. I had taken my children on several outings to the ice skating rink. They would all brave the hard ice while I glided around the oval shape. My youngest became the most interested in learning how to ice skate beyond our seasonal trips. She had became quite the little skater. I explained to my friend, last winter my kids wanted to go skating and I had no interest. I had even taken a lesson along with my youngest, but I still walked on the ice. It was a pathetic sight. What happened?

As we continued hiking up the hill my friend told me a while back she had decided to check out a personal trainer. As she relived her painful story I had to smile because there was a time when I actually believed the saying "No Pain, No Gain." It was a classic case where a person plunges their very being in hopes of recreating what they had twenty years earlier. Her trainer had brought nothing but pain, day after day. She was paying nearly the same amount she would pay as taking a Salsa dance class and having a hell of a lot more fun. She fired her trainer.

Not only did the aches and pains stay around longer but the fear of another fall had now permentently settled in her mind. I am beginning to realize the things I used to do must be done with less impact. I can't jump off the counter and think I'm going to spring back to life like I didn't feel my feet hitting the hard floor. Trust me I feel it all these days. More importantly is how we arrived at this point. Do our brains change as we age? I ask because when did my body become afraid of falling down when I ice skate? So what if I fall down. Am I afraid of falling the older I get? Is it because of all I witnessed while working at the hospital or am I coming to understand my limitations? The thought of having limitations frustrates me.

I do not recall ever thinking I can no longer ice skate because I might fall. I even asked my skating instructor what she thought about my dilemma. She brought to my attention the fact that children have a shorter distance to fall than a full grown adult. Plus their fear factor has not fully developed. Still I had to ask what happened to my way of thinking? Am I going to get worse to the point I sit in a chair afraid to do anything? Does this happen to everyone and if so how can we change our way of thinking back to what it once was so we can continue to live the rest of our lives how we want?