Several years ago I jumped out of an airplane. On purpose. With a guy attached to my back and a parachute attached to his back. It was fun.
A few days ago I had to dismount from a swing so I wouldn’t vomit.
Do I dare? No, I do not dare. My leaps of faith in my own physicality have diminished to mere hops, and even those hops I dare not attempt without deep, cleansing, stabilizing breaths and perhaps the promise of fame, or something yummy to eat, right afterwards. I have become a wimp. I have become less than svelte. I have become cautious.
Over the weekend I turned a bunch of cartwheels. I turned cartwheels because we were playing badminton at a friend’s house, and when I was a kid I’d spend most badminton games upside down. So, some deeply immersed reaction in me said: do cartwheels. And they were fine, they were lovely. So I threw in a few handstands. I attempted a backward somersault. And that’s when hubris caught up to me.
I haven’t been able to turn my head to the left since.
My body, it used to be made of stretchy, slinky rubber and now it’s a stiff and cracked and whiny plastic.
So I made a commitment. I would improve. I don’t expect to ever have the body of a 23 year old again, but certainly I can reasonably aim for 34. Right? RIGHT? This morning I did sit-ups. Almost six of them! And now my belly hurts. I’m soothing it with cream-and-sugar-enhanced coffee. Maybe tomorrow I’ll try a push-up or two.
Or maybe I’ll embrace this new chapter of the meek and just keep my feet on the ground. There’s plenty to do in an upright position.