Saturday, February 4, 2012

Walking it Off

   Back in the olden days before the turn of the century I was a kid. To me, it was like yesterday. According to the calendar it was more like fifty years ago.

   I remember participating in school sports while in Junior and Senior High School. I'd like to be able to say that I was the star quarterback or the team captain or some such nonsense but I was just playing sports as part of your everyday average Physical Education class.  We'd play flag football or basketball or whatever else was in season.

   Even though this was your mundane school sports class eventually someone would get a sprained ankle or slip and scuff a knee. The reply from the "Coach" was, "Walk it off".

   Walk it off. This magical phrase was the best advice I ever learned in any school that I ever attended.

   As we walked it off we discovered that whatever it was that we had complained of was magically receding into our memory and that our 'injury' wasn't as dire as we had first imagined.

   Memory is a wonderful thing. You can remember what your first kiss felt like. You can remember the smell of the smoke form your first campfire. You can remember the taste of the best meal you've ever eaten but did you know that you can't remember pain? You can remember that you had some pain at some location on your body but you can not, through memory, re-experience or 'remember' that pain in all of it's severity, no matter how hard you try.

   Pretty cool, huh? Once you live through a certain pain you are secure in the knowledge that you can survive it again if you have to. If this were not the case, we would all be an only child. Moms just walk it off.

   Life often throws us some real curve balls. Injuries to body and mind that are severe enough to cripple us for years or even a lifetime. Physical injuries are sometimes so severe that they will often leave a person immobile for a lifetime, yet we see and hear of the most amazing people who overcome even this severe an injury.

   Emotional injuries are invisible to the naked eye but can be the most debilitating to a person. The death of a loved one, living through a traumatic event or witnessing a horrible tragedy can sometimes lead to this type of injury. 

   We hear of Military combat veterans who come home with the emotional scars incurred in battle. I have friends who came home from Viet Nam who have suffered from this kind of injury. The survivors learn to walk it off. Sadly, some never learn to do this.

   I am inspired by a person that I know on an online forum that I attend. He goes by the handle of "One Legged Josh". Josh has one leg. I don't know the details of how he lost his leg and I won't pry, but he sure doesn't let the loss slow him down. He attacks life and is more active than I was at his age. Josh has walked it off, with one-legged style.

   Walking it off seems a simple remedy to life's pressing problems and it is, in most cases, just that simple. We are faced with setbacks on a daily basis. Professional, personal, emotional and physical challenges face us all. We can't go back in time to prevent the bad things from happening to us.

   We shouldn't dwell on what we could have done to avoid these bad things or worry about how we could have better prepared for life's little stumbling blocks. All we can do is go forward and try not to make the same missteps we did in the past.

   We can't go back so we must go forward. We have to work with what we're given or what we have left. In the event of a physical injury, take stock of what you have left to work with. Find out how to overcome that limitation, whether it be something minor or even more debilitating, walk it off and move forward with your life.

   If you have suffered a mental setback, do what you must to put the past behind you and move on with your life. Mental injuries are difficult for a lot of folks to deal with. Learn to compartmentalize. Ask a mental health professional what this means and learn how to do it. It works! Walk it off!

   Being a Geezer means that I have a lot of baggage but I have learned to travel light. Bad memories go into one room in my mind to be revisited at my leisure for when I'm in the mood to feel sorry for myself. Physical ailments plague me every day but I deal with them as they arise. Walking it off is as much a mental activity as it is a physical one.

   Take it from The Geezer, when you have a hurdle to cross or an ailment to overcome, remember:  Walk it off.


  1. A lot more people need to read this...Thank you!


I'd be interested to hear your comments. Thanks for reading The Geezer Guide!