For twenty-seven years, I didn’t do a lick of exercise. Then, about nine months ago, I started lifting weights on occasion. It was good, I suppose. I got a little bit swole. But my body was having none of it. Almost immediately, I started having knee trouble. I thought that maybe my knees would be strengthened if I kept doing it, but no, that was a foolish thought. Instead they got worse. Now it’s not just exercise. They sometimes ache even from just walking around (although exercise is, by far, the worst for them).
I went to my doctor recently and he sent me a list of knee exercises. I suppose I’ll do them and I suppose I’ll get better. But I am such a pessimist about everything health-related. Everytime something happens, I just assume that it’s going to be a permanent fixture in my life. For instance, for maybe 2-4 years, I had horrible insomnia. I did everything I could think of to stop it. I stopped drinking coffee, stopped looking at light sources before going to bed, stopped smoking, started waking up at the same time every day. And…it got better. I don’t know what did it. Probably a combination of things. But it got better. Nowadays, I almost never lie awake for hours. I actually look forward to going to bed.
I’ve had all kinds of other health things like that. For instance, there was the winter when my entire body itched. And the year when I kept waking up in the middle of the night with the need to urinate, only to find that when I went to the bathroom, I actually didn’t need to urinate. And there’ve been several periods in my life, usually 2-4 weeks long, when I’ve had horrible lower back pain.
Everything’s always gone away. So I imagine that I’ll do some exercises and the knee thing will go away too. It’d be nice if it went. It’s not that I particularly want to run and stuff. But now that I’m normal-weight, it’d be nice to know that I can do physical activity type things if I want to.
I assume that everybody has health blips like these (well, everybody who’s lucky enough to not have serious health problems). But no one talks about them. Somehow I’d figured that there was just a day when you’re like fifty years old when suddenly your body starts breaking down. But nope, it’s a gradual process: a steady accumulation of wear and tear. I imagine it’s a bit like a car. My car is seven years old. It has many dings and dents. The windshield wipers have become curiously ineffective. The acceleration is not particularly responsive. There’s something funky going on with the bumper. At one point, the cruise control randomly crapped out. But it’s all pretty minor. The car runs. It almost never breaks down. It gets me where I want to go with a minimum of fuss. But it’s still noticeably worse than when I got it.
Obviously none of this should be a surprise to me, but it still was. The steady degradation of things. It’s so easy, when you’re a kid, to take your body for granted. But when you’re forced to think about the reality of it–the idea that my body is an extremely complicated system that we don’t really understand–then it’s a little frightening. But oh well. It’s still (mostly) running fine.