Originally posted on June 9, 2020.
Whether professional or personal, there are some opportunities that just can’t be denied. About a month ago, an email from Bill Clark, birder, writer, historian, former professional baseball scout, weightlifter and coach, and dad of my high school friend Sean Clark, popped up on my computer. My ears perked up. Among the references to different birds that had been seen, cultural events to keep an eye on, and historical facts from years past was a note about something called “Lift Your Age.” Turns out, this means that, for those of us who are over 40, you have to do as many different lifts as you have years. For me, this means 62 different lifts.
Bill’s first response when I asked if I could try was to ask if I needed to see a psychiatrist. He then invited me to his gym on Grace Lane and said that, if I could do it at all, it would take five visits to the gym to accomplish the goal. On my first visit Bill and Tony, a really nice guy who works out there, got me started, with Bill directing the show and Tony helping to put weights together. We got through about twenty lifts that first day. I discovered that my right arm is stronger than my left, but that my right shoulder lacks the range of motion of my left.
I had told Bill up front that I had had shoulder surgery on both sides and that the right one hadn’t been entirely successful because I had had to pull a colt three weeks post-surgery. Bill was also alerted to my bad back—spinal stenosis and three ruptured discs at age 18. So Bill was very careful to ensure that any lift we did would not cause or exacerbate my existing physical limitations.
On my second early morning visit, twenty more lifts were accomplished. As with the first visit, my back felt better after the work out and my shoulders were more limber. And, since women in my family fight against osteoporosis, it was great to hear that some of the lifts I was doing would help in that fight. Even more incentive to continue!! On my third visit, again before work, I finished with 63 different lifts, one of 715 pounds (!!!!), and left with a dedicated plan to continue to work out.
Yes, I’m 62 years old. I’m not as strong as I used to be. But, with effort (and Bill’s help), I don’t have to lose strength so quickly, nor become so brittle, nor feel so acutely the aches and pains that until now I’ve taken as a matter of course.
Whether personally or professionally, sometimes we just need to take a chance to grow and broaden our horizons. Lesson learned!