One day, in my mid-thirties, a slip on the ice sparked a realization, an epiphany, if you will. A few years prior to the slip and fall in question, there was another, in the same truck terminal lot, but that one I bounced right back up. Looked around to see if anyone saw it, and absently rubbed the ass cheek that took the brunt of my weight. Flash forward a few years, and the same slip, the same lot, but this time when I hit the ground I laid there. It hurt, I was wounded, and I wanted my mommy!
I didn’t care who saw me fall, didn’t care who saw me laying there. All I could think of was how much it hurt, and how little I wanted to move. I didn’t lay there long. I am not a baby after all. But as I got up, the fall a few years prior came to mind. I started to wonder what the difference was.
Then it dawned on me. I am not getting older! The ground is just getting harder.
I was a huge fan of Van Halen growing up. Not the Sammy Hagar, Van Halen, but he Diamond David Lee Roth, Van Halen. I loved it when he jumped off the drum stand, did the splits high in the air, fist shoved down, and landed with poise on the stage. I emulated that move often off truck docks after I started driving truck.
Until the landings started to hurt.
I never landed wrong, it’s just that the ground was getting progressively harder, and I needed to get a little closer the ground before dropping off the dock with each passing year. I was done doing David Lee Roth jumps before the twenty seven year old me woke up in a hotel room in Indiana.
But before the second fall on the ice in the truck terminal lot, I attributed my tender feet to age. But it was the ground!
I still feel twenty seven if we just take the ground out of the equation. I can still sprint with my dog, but the old fart can’t maintain it as long as I can. My mind is clear, my ears sharp, eyes…umm…well.
I don’t feel almost fifty.
But, when I go to get off the ground, no matter how I got there, there is not springing. And when I fall, which we just naturally get better at avoiding, it hurts so much more than it used to.
I have skied for a good part of my life. The last time I skied was that twenty seven year old me. He took chances, tried things, and fell. Aside from a couple of broken or dislocated thumbs, he always got right back up and pointed himself down the hill. The vast majority of falls on the ski slope were not very painful events.
Flash forward twenty one years, and things are a little different. I completed my second snowboard lesson with my two sons today. I have fallen; the least dramatic of all the falls was just falling backwards after trying to stand up for the first time on a snowboard. The pain from the bruise lasted most of the week!
But some of the more dramatic crashes hurt as a ski fall has never hurt before. I wasn’t going that fast, wasn’t coming off a jump. I lost my balance, crashed onto my side, and it felt like I shoved my shoulder clear into my chest cavity. Come on! It was a simple skiing fall.
I am not getting older; the ground just keeps getting harder.