I think it was a Wednesday morning. My new, sweet Zen-like alarm app decided I needed to get out of bed. As I turned over to tell it to shut-the-hell-up, my stiffened knee refused to straighten.
“Hmm.” I wondered, refusing to let a small bout of physical pain stop me. “Must have been that jump rope at CrossFit yesterday.”
Then, with my usual full-fledged denial and optimistic will, I put my feet on the floor. Walking – that is without a painful limp – was not going to happen. I hobbled my way into the kitchen, reaching first for the Advil, something I would normally never do ahead of coffee.
“This will make it all better,” I stupidly thought to myself. “How many of these orange candies are within the legal limit?”
Four hours pass. I was still in pain, walking like an old woman. A week passed. Seven days of Google-endorsed cures – ice, heat, rest, an ugly Ace brace, extra attention from my family, more Advil – and still, no change. My damn knee required me to pull out all stops – a bonafide doctor.
“Can you make it brand new, Doc?”
“Unfortunately, no. I can’t make your knee thirty years younger. Too many miles on those legs to turn back now.”
Fucking doctor. He is far too realistic about my growing physical limitations. Tell me I am not the first person that wants some miracle doctor that can keep me young, keep my body from growing old and tiring out. One that can preserve my body as a working machine – doing what I want it to do, when I want it to do it, with little maintenance required.
Not possible, huh? Ugh.
So far, at least, nobody is immune from growing old. Bodies are not designed to last forever. Each day moves us closer to greater physical limitation.
But, compared to Dr.-Bad-News, my line of work provides some good news. You ready for some?
Our inner psyches – our emotional cores – are not limited as we age. In fact, they can expand beyond imagination. Our capacity for vitality never ceases.
Are folks emotionally limited? Sure. They cross our paths each and every day. We smack into their walls and edges. Wives drag them into therapy. They talk incessantly about wanting to be happy yet stay committed to misery. Yes, emotional limitation is pervasive and can dress in a wide-array of costume.
And, it has little to do with age. Mind you, we can go from soup to stew to Jello to concrete. Time does harden internal habit. But, unlike my worn knee, emotional restriction it is not a given. It is a choice. Restoration is possible.
So, join me, will you? I don’t want to be the only wrinkled old lady rocking it out in the wheel chair. My body will fade, but, I will be damned if she’s taking my spirit down too. That shit is precious and will not, dare not, be contained.