I watch a lot of sports. One thing people say over and over again is that Father Time is undefeated. Meaning that everyone, even the greatest among us, are going to get old and not be able to do the things we once could do. As soon as professional athletes hit 30, analysts start to watch for signs of their inevitable decline. Every bad game is just proof that the end is right around the corner. It can be depressing for those of us who aren't professional athletes to hear people who are 38 years old being described as grizzled veterans at the tail end of their careers, only to realize that you recently turned 39 and that grizzled veteran is in fact younger than you are.
Here’s what happened: I played golf yesterday. I was hitting the ball pretty good but around the fifth hole I started feeling worn down. First off, it was really hot and my dad and I were walking. Second, I just had chemotherapy this week and I suppose there could be a small chance that it was still having an effect on my body. Thirdly, I am on this new blood pressure medicine and a side effect is that it can make you feel woozy.
All in all, it was a day I should have spent relaxing.
But did I mention my round was off to a good start? Well, it was, and I didn’t stop. I finished and by the time I got to the end, walking to the car was a challenge. When I got home, I laid down in the middle of the living room and that is how Jaimie found me when she walked in from work.
“Why are you napping in the middle of the floor?” She asked.
“Because I played golf and might have gotten a little over heated,” I admitted weakly, while coughing. Oh, I’ve had this cough for about three weeks that my depressed immune system seems to keep holding onto and the blood pressure medicine seems to be exasperating. My shoes were hanging off my feet. A bottle of warm Gatorade lay beside me.
Jaimie stepped over me to hang up her apron. Her non-verbal communication skills were on fleek.
I think the thing I’m most afraid of is being called lazy. If things don’t happen for me because the ball bounced a certain way that’s one thing, but if things don’t work out because I didn't work hard enough, that’s just something I can’t deal with.
This is not me breaking my shoulder to pat myself on the back. I actually think this gets me into trouble from time to time. Like when I first started doing stand up in New York I was doing four shows a night, six nights a week. Did this make me better? I have no idea. But it did make me feel like I was doing something. That I was grabbing my destiny by the horns. You know, by performing until 2 am and drinking until 5.
It’s strange. No matter how invincible our spirits might be, they are housed inside these imperfect bodies, with so many moving parts and things that can go wrong at any moment. It’s one of the things that makes life this glorious, complicated mess.
One of the big challenges of this whole experience has been accepting my limitations. I’m clearly not very good at it. But it’s hard not to feel lazy when you sleep 14 hours, even though you’re hooked up to chemo. It’s hard to feel ok when you can barely walk 9 holes while your 68 year old father is barely breaking a sweat.
But Father Time is undefeated and chemo is hard on the body. The more I take care of myself now, the more golf there might be in the future. And walks. And coffees on park benches. And all the other things that make up this glorious, complicated mess.