If it’s too loud, you’re too old (or weak)!

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Time to pimp the new DVD a bit. We’ve sold out of our first batch, but to no avail… we’ve got more growing in my greenhouse as I write this. Our buddy Kat has some words to say about it. Read ’em here.

Oh, and buy it here.

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I’m 40 years old. According to some sacred wisdoms, I’ve had time to work on my jig, memorize my capitals and conjugate my verbs. I’ve still got some centuries in me yet to sail the world, write the great American novel (or ebook), and perfect my long division, but all in good time. Slowing down is not an option. Sure it takes an extra squirt of grease to keep the joints from rusting, but that’s small beans for the view I’ll get from the tops of the mountains I’ve yet to climb and the food I have yet to taste in countries and worlds I have yet to traverse. Heck, I still have to figure out what you women folk are all about, although generations past have confided in me that you will probably always remain the greatest of scary and wonderful mysteries. I like mysteries.

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Does any of this seem easier to accomplish if my machine isn’t kept purring? But a quick glance around my neighborhood seems to confirm the guess that some of my peers have already stored your carriages in the garage, covering them until the day seems right to dust it off, if that day ever comes. A daily scene directly outside my shanty features my neighbor rapidly inhaling his 20th or so cigarette of that day, so slouched over that his frail, emaciated frame looks like he’s permanently stooping below door frames, which he’d better hold onto so the breeze doesn’t blow him away.

He’s 22. No only is there not enough of a past to truly demand this posture and ill health of his, there will be no future except that which will enhance it. He’s not alone either. His clan is everywhere, a tribe without longevity, Darwinism on display if you’re eager enough to watch it. Silly me… you’re eager to get moving, aren’t ya?

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(any excuse to use this graphic)

There is a dichotomy here. Look, as I mosh my way into my 5th decade, I haven’t yet donned the garments that seem trendy with my chronological peers. Not married, no children and a job that can be fodder for a SNL skit (or an entire movie… remember Dodgeball?). I’ve been ducking responsibility like a ninja since I first rolled off the diaper changing table and ran out in the yard nekkid and laughing (sure that might have been last Thursday, but you get the idea).

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(we’re better than you… and we know it!)

But watching a generation replace choices of responsibility (or the lack of, in my case) with the bondage of addictions and dilapidated health is like flipping through a chose-your-own-ending book that only has one chapter.

Movement, health and longevity all share similar DNA. Where does an individual lose touch with movement?

I remember the day I cried because my fat friend Lynn broke my big wheel. At the time I missed the relevance of the event… kudos to Lynn for riding the shit out of that thing until it could no longer bear her larger than average size. Sure enough, Lynn went on to ride bigger rigs that could sustain her mass, and the Gods of irony giggled because the more she rode, played and behaved with the intent of having fun, the more her mass shrunk. She pulled out of her foray into double digit chronology with a much more reasonable weight-to-height ratio before I lost track of her.

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Then there’s “Jay”. In early High School, Jay was my dichotomous close friend – he liked Christian rock while I listened to Slayer; he lifted weights and had a collection of team letters while I ran from the jocks so they didn’t beat me up; he was college bound and career ready while I was wondering which fast food hat looked best with my long hair.

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(ya KNOW I would’ve rocked that look)

Thanks to Facebook, I now know Jay’s stats are… well, let’s just say considerably different. Obviously overweight and out of shape, it makes me again wonder…

Where did he lose touch with movement?

Our American school system seems to work like this…

1-12 years old: go ahead and play. We’ll give you a sliver of time called recess, and then ya got a bit of freedom after school. Don’t worry, rules aren’t important yet, but you’d better start learning them soon, because…

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13-18 years of age: you’ve got two choices… pick a sport or stop playing entirely. Unfortunately, sport is not synonymous with play, no matter what the AYSO propaganda states. This is the time to covet winning, not playing. And if you’re good enough, ya might get to do more of it in college. Otherwise, this might be your last dance with organized movement for many years.

19-22 years of age. Do you play a sport?

Yes = possible over-training and burnout from competition, with a HUGE chance that after college you may never want to ‘play’ again.

No = you won’t start now. If you’re lucky, you might start working out a little, especially if you believe, like many do, that it will help you get laid. Welcome to obligatory movement. No play to be found here.

23- onward… “Working out” replaces actual movement and play. Now it is obligation through redundant reps and limited ranges of movement. What was once a tension release as a child is now building more tension to your already full arsenal.

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(not the route ya wanna go… trust me)

Almost daily I meet folks (like myself) who have been through some version of this timeline. Either movement is loaded onto our shoulders like a yoke of obligation as we age, or we avoid it entirely. Sound off with me, folks… how do we make changes to that?

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Thanks to a series of events I had my first trip to Vegas last week. I don’t drink, I don’t gamble, but I had a fantastic time, and nary a single dead hooker to bury in the desert! The details will bore you, but a simple fact needs reflection. I was part of a small group of folks that almost became the first company to be kicked out of a fitness buyer’s convention. While helping out my buddies at Alpha Strong (they make those groovy sandbags I rave about on occasion), we got in trouble for being too loud. No we weren’t blasting music or shouting or letting off firearms. We were playing. No other booth at this entire convention had folks actually working out, but we were, and that required throwing, dropping and tossing heavy sandbags. The loud thumps were glorious, but in a convention hall where equipment sellers were promoting the quietness of their equipment (apparently treadmills, rowers and elliptical machines need to be no louder than a whisper), apparently making some noise and having some fun was not allowed.

Too bad!! Make some noise, folks. It’s playtime, intense, brutal, wonderful playtime. THAT’S what movement is meant to be, and we should NEVER lose sight of that!

I’m gonna put a hole in my TV set
I don’t wanna grow up
Open up the medicine chest
And I don’t wanna grow up
I don’t wanna have to shout it out
I don’t want my hair to fall out
I don’t wanna be filled with doubt
I don’t wanna be a good boy scout
I don’t wanna have to learn to count
I don’t wanna have the biggest amount
I don’t wanna grow up

– Tom Waits

 

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Showing 4 comments
  • Heidi Bennett
    Reply

    Thanks for the great post,

    I have dedicated to myself to play again after years of being less active. Thanksgiving this year will include a trip to the dog park and jaunty walk for the whole family before we tuck into dessert!

    Heidi/Kizzy/Ruby

  • Tara Getty
    Reply

    Great.

  • Craig in Seattle
    Reply

    Disk 1: Me likey. More later.

  • Little Sisyphus
    Reply

    I am reminded of the very cool Tom Robbins quote “It is never too late to have a happy childhood.” Certainly we have the obligation to children to not do to them what was done to us. But, we also have the opportunity/obligation to re-invent ourselves.

    Elsewhere I’ve ranted about the perversity of our word choices, we rush to our noon hour “workout” and rush back to our desk. What if we engaged in the mental discipline of using language differently? What if we get some friends together and imagine our “play out”. Indeed a huge amount of what is curative in the play of children is the social give and take of imagination, imagination that is then realized at that moment. Remember the conversation “Lets’ pretend X. OK. And you can do, Y, and then I’ll…,” all of this narrative accompanies scrambling over the jungle gym, or, up the tree-house ladder.” Mark Twain caught it well in “Tom Sawyer”– for those of us that have no children handy (it is best, after all, to learn directly from the masters when possible). Hence, I’m looking forward to reading about Anthony running play-outs for the tribe — where instead of scaling down adult work-outs for children we instead scale up youthful play-outs for adults.

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