A Top, Full of Spin

Summer                                                          New (Lughnasa) Moon

My own workout schedule has gotten results. It lowers my resting heart rate, increases the speed at which my heart rate drops after I complete exercising and I’m physically stronger. My stamina, though, does not seem as good as it used to be, partly due to aging, of course, but also, I think, due to my decrease in longer, slower aerobics.

The body slows down, develops creaks here and there, is slower to recover. We’re like a top that starts out full of spin and, as it loses momentum, starts to wobble, then finally falls to the ground still. This is not a gloomy observation; it’s just fact. Life is no less full and exciting during the time of the wobble as it was at the time of full spin. This might come as a surprise to those still there, but vitality and enthusiasm are not physical, but spiritual. They are, that is, matters of the will and the heart, not the body.

Look at Stephen Hawking, for example. He’s an extreme example of what every person in the third phase knows. The body wears down, becomes less able, yes. But that does not mean that the mind, the heart, the drive, the passion has to go with it.

The finish line model of retirement, golf and eat until you die, suggests otherwise, but it was never an accurate portrayal of human life. It was about defining life as either working or not working. Life is so much more than that, both during the years of regular employment and those that come after, in the third phase.

So, I’ll stay on the treadmill, not to defy aging, because that’s impossible; but, rather, to get the most from it. So far that seems to be working.


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