The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

On aging

As a child sport was somehow limited to playing, some swimming, and maybe one or two hours within the school curriculum. It wasn’t a very engaging activity or one my parents would promote a lot.

As it happens, one day I started to engage more and find myself doing some sport quite regularly. While it is there for my well-being in general, much of it has also become supportive of playing golf. But it is not as simple as saying that what I do is focused on golf.

Developing mobility, stability, force, and speed is at the core of a physical presence on earth. Entertaining such activity seems to be, for me, a major contributor to managing energy and caring for my mental health.

That’s because it is a journey I experience within the context of my life. It’s not separate from life, it is life. At the same time, much of the journey is something I experience as going against the existing design of my life, it aligns with aging but seeks to reverse many of the things I innocently added to who I am.

The way I move is unique to me. It depends on the muscles, bones, and joints that make up the basic structure used by the human body to be mobile. But the way I move is also a reaction to events and evolution. The sport I did, the way I moved developed muscles and put some strains on joints and bones.

One can call this aging.

But there is more to it. I, for example, once ruptured my Achilles tendon. For a few months, I couldn’t move as usual. When it had healed, some muscles had changed causing an imbalance in the body. It meant that I had started compensating by shifting the muscle effort from one place to the next. These compensations are still noticeable.

It is a process that is unavoidable. It is the result of what we do.

Sport has become the place where I work to reduce the number of “compensations” I need while moving. It’s an effort to move toward an original movement that my body can execute spontaneously and corresponds to what my body can do. It’s moving towards an effortless movement.

But naturally, training also means to learn something that will initially feel uncomfortable for my body as it is not used to it. Consequently, I’ll also frequently experience something that starts hurting, one day it’s here, and the other day there.

When talking about this or that pain, a typical reaction colleagues will have then, is to remind me of my age. While I inevitably progress on that scale too, I find that Ellen Langer’s work on aging as a mindset goes well with my experience.

I will not deny age but will not see it as fate either.



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