Wednesday, September 2, 2015


"We do not stop playing because we grow old; 

We grow old because we stop playing."

~Ben Franklin

A month ago I'd not have given much thought to the words above. I'd have been too busy putting gear away from one weekend trip, or plotting/planning/packing for another to give it much thought.

That was a month ago.

In the intervening four weeks I've learned more about my cervical spine than I ever thought I could, or would.

My summer effectively ended that Sunday morning, when I woke with intense neck/shoulder/arm pain and then spent the next few weeks digging deeper (chiro, MT, PT, DO, acupuncture, etc...) until an MRI gave the answer: 2 herniated discs in my neck, causing a chain reaction of muscle spasms and pinched nerves that continues to this day. 

All likely due to decades of being hunched over handlebars with my 8# bean suspended out there for too long with too little rest.

I seem to have arrived at mid-life.  Or maybe it has landed on me.

The most poignant single phrase that has been uttered to help me understand this new reality: This bell cannot be unrung.

Among other things, to me that means that denial and bargaining ended pretty quickly.  Time to figure out the new normal.

A recent weekend saw Jeny off with the girls and Fang on his own summer vacation, giving me reason to attempt to ride, fish, camp for the first time with my new limitations.

Riding, so long as it was at an old man's pace and on 5" tires, was OK.

Fishing was also OK.

Sleeping in the dirt will need some adaptation.  And maybe pain meds or muscle relaxers.

The main thing I came away from the weekend with had little to do with any of that: I missed my family.  Each activity seemed lacking in meaning without Jeny and Fang there to share it.  

And while that's not exactly true, it speaks volumes about where I've been and where I'm heading.  If you knew me 2, 5, 10 years ago you'd be nodding your head in understanding.