How I learned the bleeding obvious in 2013

From David

Everyone’s doing it – the year-in-review thing.  Thought I might as well join in and offer 3 stories showcasing my own collection of sadnesses, screw-ups, penny-drop moments and minor victories.

All things are impermanent

mitch and rusty-1

As 2012 ended and 2013 rolled in, I was faced with a flurry of deaths:  my mum who had shaped so much of who I am, a friend who was one of the people whom I admired most in the world, both my dogs, my first father-in-law from whom I had learnt many useful things.  Perhaps it was the quantum of all those passings-on, but for a while there I lost my mojo. There’s a balance to be found between grieving and accepting impermanence, and it took me a while to find it.

You’re only as old as …

party 60th

I had one of those milestone birthdays, and clicked over to 60.  Despite what I thought, it didn’t turn out to be as scary as I expected.  There were even upsides:  your super goes tax-free, you get those $2.50 train tickets to everywhere, you go up an age bracket in athletic events so you’re the youngest in your cohort rather than the oldest.  It did bring a few minor indignities, like having to push the button marked “pensioner excursion” to get said train ticket.

I tried softening the blow by looking at other people who were also turning 60, like Hulk Hogan, Kim Bassinger, Pierce Brosnan, Pat Benatar, Tony Blair, Cindy Lauper, John Malkovich.  I even started being60.com, a new blog project to help write myself through the expected trauma.  In the end, of course, it was pretty much like everyone said – 60 is just another number.

Don’t let yourself be defined by external things

woodford race

I started the year with a goal of going in a certain bike race, and got serious enough to get a personal trainer for the first time in my life.  I learnt about a whole lot of impressive new statistics like body fat percentage and biological age.  Shaved my legs. Tapped into a new strain of technology in protein supplements, recovery supplements, electrolyte replacement supplements – you name it, there’s a supplement for it.  Found more events to enter, and even had a halfway decent result.

Then as the year faded out, my body rebelled against something, or everything, about the whole super-fit regime.  For the last couple of months, I have struggled physically even to throw a leg over a bike, let alone race one.  While that pissed me off, it has gradually shown me that I was letting the bike-racer persona define who I was, instead of being something fun.  Hopefully I won’t have to hang up my racing shoes, but I might apply a little less hubris to the whole endeavour.

So I have some hard-earned lessons to take into 2014.  I’d like to say that I’ll be wiser this year, but no doubt I will fail again a few times. Though perhaps  I will, as they say, fail better.

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