I want to feel better, I want to look better, I enjoy training hard, I like competing with friends, I enjoy testing my physical limits, I like getting better at a movement skill that I am not good at, I need to set the example for my box that I am striving to be the best I can be on a physical and mental level…. all very valid reasons for me to train and exercise…but not 1/10th as compelling of reason as my “why”
To Keep the Body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.
In our country a shameful thing has happened. We have, through our mostly sedentary lifestyles, invented a system for the elderly that clearly states; When you get on in years you should have to be taken care of by the younger/ healthier members of your family or put in a home/ facility that will see this happen. We have, through lifestyle choices made in some of the most “active” and important times of our lives seen to it that when we are older we will become a burden to our loved ones. It is looked at as a normal thing for “grandma” to get old, get fragile, and end up being taken care of by her family. That is incredibly sad. We are the only animals in the world that work this way. If a squirrel dies in its sleep tonight of old age that same squirrel was jumping from tree to tree this morning chasing nuts, like it has done its whole life.
My recent moment of clarity smacked me in the face over the holidays. My grandfather, “Pap” to me, is 76 years old and is unfortunately very close to the end. We have thought this for the last 5 years. He has smoked since he was 13 and as a result, has had numerous complications and lifestyle restrictions, and over the course of that recent time Pap has been in and out of the hospital countless times. He is coherent some of the time, but cannot even make it up a flight of stairs without needing oxygen, and he is, without a shadow of a doubt became a stress on his wife, my grandma, his children and even his grandchildren. I have had to watch the man who was, in my memory, strong, confident, witty, and caring, become someone who fuddles over his words, can barely move, and seems as if he is just waiting to die. It is incredibly painful for me to put this down on paper. But it was after watching this first hand this holiday. After witnessing the toll, both physically and emotionally, it has taken on Nan, my grandmother. I came to a realization. The condition he is in is not an accident, and it was not caused by old age. It was caused, very deliberately, though obviously not on purpose, by the lifestyle choices he made. It is 100% Pap’s fault that he is in the condition that he is in. This moment caused me to completely rethink my reasons for exercising and wanting to be healthy.
I have always professed in my Box that my goal for myself and my members was to be able to make it to 75 years old and have the ability to move and play with my great grandchildren. I must admit, until this holiday, those reasons were very selfish in nature. I wanted to be able to see my grandkids, and play with my grandkids. The big change for me now, is…..as I stare in the face of my children, or think about my wife…I know in my heart…it is not their responsibility to take care of me when I am older….it is my fucking responsibility to take care of myself now…to the best of my ability…so they don’t have to take care of me later. I will not have my children, push me around in a wheel chair, and cart me between doctor’s appointments when I am 80 years old, all because I wouldn’t give up shit food, alcohol and sitting on my ass from age 30 to 60…….I will not let that happen!!!
I encourage you to join in with me, and take responsibility for the body you have been given, so that your spouse, or children don’t have to….