Not that long ago, I occasionally woke up in the morning, got out of bed, and muttered to myself, “Ouch, why is my back so stiff and my legs so sore?”
Then I would remember that on the previous day I did something strenuous, such as help a friend move, which required lugging a sleeper-sofa up three flights of stairs; or I paddled 10 miles in a kayak, with 8 of those 10 miles going against the tide; or I built a deck, which would explain the painful slivers in my fingers and the high-pitched ringing sound still in my ears from using a circular saw all day.
I’d say to myself, “Oh yeah, right. No wonder I’m so sore today.”
However, recently I’ve notice that when I wake up in the morning, get out of bed, and wonder why I’m stiff and sore, there is nothing strenuous to remember. Typically, the previous day involved these activities: drive to work, sit at my desk all day, drive home, eat dinner, doze on the couch, and go to bed.
When I mentioned to a co-worker that it felt like I did something strenuous recently, even though I didn’t, he offered these gentle words of comfort: “But you DID do something strenuous recently, Bill. You turned 60!”
When he saw by my puzzled expression that I wasn’t quite comprehending, he added, “Hey, if the comments from some of my senior citizen friends are any indication, from here on out you can look forward to aches and pains every single day.”
Oh goodie. Just what I wanted to hear. I would’ve slapped him on the back of his head, but I can’t lift my arm up that high because my shoulder hurts. How did I hurt my shoulder, you ask? Throwing too many sharp-breaking curve balls? Doing too many pull ups? Doing one too many weightlifting sets at the gym? Um, no. I hurt it by reaching into a kitchen cabinet one morning to get a coffee mug. They should put warning labels on those cabinet doors. I’d go to the doctor and have my shoulder checked out, but I’m afraid I’ll hurt myself hopping up onto the examination table.
So, now that I’ve discovered my co-worker was indeed correct, and every single day offers a new opportunity to relish the joys of aches, pains, and stiffness, I have to get in the habit of remembering this when I wake up in the morning. You see, when I first gain consciousness around 5 am, I forget that I recently turned 60. For a brief moment, I still think I’m a frisky 55-year-old youngster, and so I swing my legs around and jump to the floor.
This behavior has produced another reason I don’t want to see the doctor. I know the following conversation will occur. Doctor: “So Bill, how did you pull your hamstring muscle?” Me: “Well, first I got out of bed.” Doctor: “Then what happened?” Me: “That’s it.”
It’s bad enough to pull muscles or tweak tendons by getting out of bed too fast, but now I’m concerned that I’m going to hop out of bed one morning and try to walk, and my legs are going to say to me, “Yeah, no. We’re not doing this anymore, pal.” And then as my legs crumple below me, I fall face first into the dresser drawers, and have this conversation with the dentist: Dentist: “So Bill, how did you knock out four teeth?” Me: “Well, first I got out of bed.” Dentist: “Then what happened?” Me: “That’s it.”
I guess it could be worse. At least when the morning arrives these days, I still wake up.