I Really Hate To Admit This, But…

I’m getting old.   Oh, believe me, this is not going to be one of those complaining blog posts where I lament on the general increasing stiffness/soreness in my muscles.  Of course, I could talk about that because it is slowing happening with my body.   Nope, instead I’m going to talk about a sportsman (me) who realizes he now has some physical limitations in the field as he grows older.   In other words, I just can’t do all the same things having fun/staying safe that I once was able to do outdoors 25 years ago.

And that’s okay.   I think it’s important to evaluate your physical condition each fall before the hunting seasons begin.   If you’re not in shape…well, time is quickly ticking down to the openers…so get at it!   Maybe you’ve been feeling run-down lately for no particular reason.   Yeah, I hate to admit it, but guys, in particular, need to do a better job listening to our bodies.   If you’re noticing any physical change, such as lack of sleep, that might be a condition worth discussing with your doctor.   After all, most field casualty reports show a hunter is more likely to experience a medical emergency in the woods rather than enduring a traumatic event, such as a gunshot injury.

If it’s been too many years since your last doctor’s physical…it’s time to quit procrastinating.   Enough said on that topic.

I guess when I think about this subject I have James Rummel to blame for planting the seed in my head about feeling old.   Oh, he didn’t do that on purpose…yet he left quite an impression with me after the first time I met him.

James and I met last May at the Blackhawk Blogger’s Summit out in Virginia where we were killing some time at the hotel before the conference got underway.   Over lunch the topic of personal protection was discussed at length and James suggested to me that I consider carrying a walking cane when I can’t be protected by a concealed gun.   Using a cane was made even more intriguing when James suggested to me that for self-defense you can do a lot to protect yourself by choosing the correct cane.   After all, have you ever seen an airline stewardess, a bus driver or anyone else, for that matter, take a cane away from a handicapped person because they were fearful it might be used as a weapon?   Just doesn’t happen…at least not very often.

So, I told James okay this is all fine and dandy, but I could never fool people into thinking I need a cane.   Heck, I’m too young for such a walking aid such as that.   Boy, was I wrong…the next time I seen James he brought his cane and showed me just how easy it is to walk in such a way that shows the aid of a cane is necessary just to ambulate the body.

I was convinced.   A walking cane can be one of your best tools for self-defense when other methods are simply not available.   But to use a cane surely there’s another important component beyond feigning a handicapped gait.   One most also look the part and that requires a particular level of maturity that comes with qualifying for certain life benefits—like AARP membership, senior citizen dining privileges, etc.

In my mind I was convinced James could pull it off because he not only acted the part very nicely by walking with a cane, but his advanced age, compared to me, also gave him the mature look I just described.   Wow, was I in for a shocker!!

Thanks to Facebook, I was able to learn that my new blogging summit acquaintance was 16 months younger than me.   Talk about reality check.   I started to look more closely in the mirror and I soon began accepting the fact I’m not the young man I used to be.

It’s been several months now since the blogging summit, but I still think about that discussion James and I had about using a walking cane.  I think about it not so much for the self-defense purpose which was the real intent, but rather for the fact I’ve now reached an age where I could conceivably use a walking cane if my health dictated I needed one.

Along those lines, I started thinking about how accepting the notion I’m not as young as I used to be should influence my behavior in the field this fall.   A mere 20 years ago I used to trudge through the sloughs and set-aside acres looking for pheasants as if pushed by a mean drill sergeant.   Back then my body ran on adrenalin and I could more easily push it to more extreme limits.   Today, acting in such a manner would be utterly foolhardy, at best.   Not only would hunting pheasants that way not be fun anymore, but such a critical demand on my body simply could be asking for health troubles.

No, I really hate to admit that I’m getting older, but that admission to myself in no way detracts from my overall enjoyment of the outdoors.   Still, a person needs to be honest with themselves by appreciating what physical limitations they might now have.   If you get winded…take a rest.   If the aches or pains start creeping into the fun…be prepared with ibuprofen.   The bottom line is we all need to act our age and to better understand our ability when enjoying the fall hunts.   And part of that might be first accepting the fact how few of us are still as young as we’d still like to think we are.

©2010 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.  No Reproduction without Prior Permission.