I turn 48 next week and my body has never been so persistent in reminding me that I’m no longer the indestructible 20-something I used to be. Last year it was an old knee injury that kept me off the bike for a month, this time around it’s an old hip injury from skateboarding coming back to haunt me. If I had known then, what I know now, I may very well have passed on some of the crazy shenanigans from my youth that included racing motorcycles, skateboarding in swimming pools, bicycling on hiking trails before there was such a thing as mountain bikes, and on-and-on. Ah, the price we pay for the excesses of youth.
Supposedly, with age comes wisdom, but you wouldn’t know it by some of my recent actions. This hip/back injury is a perfect case in point. See, I have a little Canon G10 point-and-shoot camera for carrying on the bike. It’s the camera I use for capturing quick snaps, panda portraits, etc., and it’s light enough that I carry it all the time. I also have a full DSLR kit that, in less than a year, has grown from a single consumer grade kit, to two bodies, five lenses, a battery grip, a strobe, and various-and-sundry other accessories. The whole caboodle now completely stuffs a mid-size photographer’s backpack and weighs around 20 pounds. This is where it gets interesting. Typically, when I take the Big Kahuna backpack out for a photo shoot, I place it in a pannier or porteur’s bag and let the bike carry the weight. The problem is that a few of the bikes I’ve been testing recently aren’t outfitted with racks that accept oversize panniers. So in my infinite wisdom, instead of taking the time to figure out some way to carry the Big Kahuna on these bikes, I’ve been pretending that I’m still 20 years old and carelessly throwing it on my back*. This worked OK for a couple of weeks, but the old injury finally said “enough”, and now I’m hobbling around like the 48-year-old-with-a-back-injury that I am.
Right now I’m left wondering if the age/wisdom equation is ever going to resolve itself. I can’t seem to figure out if the problem is the fact that my body is starting to wear out, or if it’s that my brain still refuses to acknowledge the fact that I’m no longer 20. My hope is that I somehow manage to embrace this upcoming birthday, get over the denial thing, and act my age for once. Besides being the “mature” thing to do, it would certainly be far easier on this not-so-young body of mine. (Hey, that was a breakthrough – maybe there’s hope afterall!)
*20 pounds is not that much weight, but when combined with an old injury and the forward leaning cycling position, it’s enough to mess up a weakling like me.