Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Dear Body: An Apology

Dear Body,

You’re probably wondering why I’m writing; I’ve never done this before.

For years now, rather than communicate with you, I’ve judged and pushed you—trying to get rid of your fat, make you pedal a bike harder and faster, keep you more and more awake. I basically tried to make you stay 33 years old for the last 20 years.

Well, this is a letter of reconciliation.

I don’t want to be angry at you anymore. You and I aren’t one thing, but we are bound together, at least until I die. If I hate you, I hate me. If I accept you, flaws and all, maybe there’ll be a little more room for me.

So it makes sense to try to make some peace, to appreciate you. Maybe you’ll return the favor. If not, hey, that’s ok.

I admit that my constant pushing has been motivated mostly by selfish or self-destructive urges. I guess it boils down to a couple simple points: 1) it’s freaking FUN to feel strong and do things that are hard; 2) I get really sad when I can’t do those things anymore.

Well, I guess it’s more complicated than that.

There’s the pride about the physical stuff I can still pull off. And then the dark side of pride: the lack of self-esteem that gets filled in by those accomplishments… at least for a while.

Oh, and there’s the typical middle-aged desire to cheat time and death, to freeze the aging process. To make it seem like I’ll never get old, sicken, and die.

So, yeah. Some ugly stuff.

Look, I’m sorry.

You’ve given so much without stinting. You pedaled me up mountain after mountain, danced like a dervish for hours on end, played crazed games of softball late into November. Perhaps hardest of all, you’ve sat... infinitely. In office chairs, on couches, in planes and cars.

And it’s only in the last few years you’ve started balking—putting on some extra pounds, hurting in the knees every time (every freaking time!) I climb on the bike. It would probably be fair for me to ease my expectations a little, after all you’ve given.

Well, it’s a work in progress, y’know?

I’m working on the balance between challenging you and overtaxing you. This little “middle age” phase you’re going through is very new. One day you act 43, the next day, 63.  And some pains simply don’t go away, no matter how much time and physical therapy I give them. I hate to be petty, but seriously, you never once quit on me before. Maybe the next physical therapist will finally make the problem go away?

Do I need the wisdom of knowing my limits, or the perseverance of never giving up?

Anyway, I started out to apologize. So, yeah—sorry. Really.

But, while I'm here… would it be too much to ask for one more season of long, hard rides?

Yours in humility,



  1. Are you me? Because most of what you write is what I've been going through lately. I was talking with my sister-in-law and her husband last year, and we agreed that, in our 40s, we're all probably in the best shape of our lives, but we lack the resilience of our 20s and 30s.

  2. Hi, Brian. Glad to know you're still a reader here!

    Yes, it's amazing the contrast between my enthusiasm and my endurance. Five years ago, definitely the best shape of my life. These days, just waiting for breaks in the chronic problems enough to have a decent ride or hike.

    Best of luck navigating it all!