I grew up inside my own head. I read a lot, and thought a lot, and didn’t care for physical play. I was scrawny as a kid, chubby as a young adult. I disliked being constrained to a body. It was something that tied my mind down. I would have preferred to be transferred into a robot body, or even eschew the physical altogether and live entirely within a computer.
Now that I am fit, I revel in my body. I love having a physical form and using it to do things. Simply being alive in a physical vessel is a constant pleasure.* I stretch, I flex, I feel air across my skin. I wish I had started working out years ago, this is a whole new facet to life. It feels like I was living in two dimensions before, and a whole third dimension has opened up to me, an entire new axis of experience. It is amazing. I don’t even know how I could explain it to my younger self, there’s no words that can convey the feeling. Or rather, there must be words, but I am not skilled enough to deploy them. I refuse to believe that someone of sufficient skill couldn’t explain how this feels. Even so, my younger self would not believe them. I see young people who are out of shape and obviously just don’t care and I want to say something to them, to wake them up, but I know it won’t make any difference. Most likely they’ll think I’m an asshole. So I hold my peace and hope they’ll discover this for themselves some day.
Unfortunately, as is always the case, caring about something also means it can hurt you. When I was younger, I could have been crippled and not cared too much. Old age didn’t seem all that terrible, as long as my mind was sharp. Now, I fear what will happen as I age. Already my body is starting to show signs of wear. Eventually it’ll start to fail on me. Moving quickly will hurt my joints. My muscles will atrophy and my insides will pain me every day. Many common illnesses will have the potential to be fatal. I almost wish I hadn’t found this aspect of life, knowing how it’ll be ripped away from me later.
It is worth the existential terror, though. My life would have been much emptier without this glorious physical aspect I’ve found, I think I’ll have been happier having experienced this and lost it, than had I lived never experiencing this physical joy.**
Seriously though, let’s solve this aging shit already.
*Although I admit, I’m still wary of the whole “eating” concept. That’s kinda gross.)
**Yes, perhaps this is a delusion born of the fact that I can’t go back. I can’t double-guess myself ad infinitum.