Iñaki shared Andy’s longform post on getting older. I thought I’d add an additional case study.
Andy’s conversation is worth having with yourself, usually as part of your annual review.
- What am I doing?
- Why am I doing it?
- Where is “what I am doing” likely to take me?
Two things about aging:
- I know very little about what the future holds
- Without thought, and effort, I will default to the recent past
These points are an essential part of the typical aging process, and human decision making!
What is the typical aging process?
Aging athletes keep defaulting to the approach of their younger selves and get caught in a cycle of injury.
Performance follows a step-down process => material downward shifts happen as a result of injury.
This is easier to see as a coach than an athlete. I have your data!
The way it will feel inside an athlete is “I can’t train as hard anymore.” True, but what’s really happening is your consistency is shot, and you’re losing strength, every_single_time you get hurt.
Only the most successful, and fortunate, athletes are able to watch their performance trickle away gradually.
There is a lot of gain from chucking away the habits, and choices, that can lead to a sudden downward shifts.
At 52, I can still do plenty of training.
The best middle-aged athletes might not be racing…
While I don’t know what the future holds, I do know I deeply enjoyed being a camp counsellor and coach. I also know I can have a profoundly positive impact on my kids, and my community.
I also know my drive for external validation, and the chase for relative performance, started to wane in my mid-40s. That made it easier to see, that training like I was 28-35, was likely to take me somewhere I didn’t want to go.
Combine all of the above…
Continual pre-habilitation so I can do cool stuff for as long as possible.
Our youngest turns 16 around the time I hit 60 – the transition to being an empty-nester will be another journey.
For now, I’ll keep tossing plate and enjoying the outdoors with them.
The pursuit of being a better version of myself has no sell-by date.
Successful aging is a continual process of pre-habilitation for an injury you hope to never have.
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