Moving

I just completed my eighth move in nine years, which is why the blog has been neglected. We still have lots of book boxes to unpack, so it may take me a few days to become dependable again.

When possible, I prefer to move much of the stuff myself, to have time to put things in the right place rather than have everything dumped by a moving company. Also, moving fragile items myself is a lot easier, as they don’t have to be packed nearly as securely when I’m the only one who will be carrying the boxes. I was able to do that for this move, as we were moving cross-town after completing a major renovation on our house.

For me this approach to moving, and the numbers of times I’ve done it, makes it an interesting personal case study in the aging process. I’m 44 now. My lifestyle is fairly sedentary, but I do bike to work and I do weights and cardio in the gym three times a week (in my twenties I scoffed at people who worked out in the gym, but that’s just what time does to you). I was in better general shape when I practiced Tae Kwon Do regularly, but I think I’m still as strong now as I ever was, in the sense of what I am able to lift and carry.

The change I really notice in myself is physical recovery time. When I was younger a day spent lifting and carrying meant some muscle soreness in the evening. The next couple of days I would notice it but it wouldn’t affect me. Now a day of moving leaves my whole body stiff, such that it takes a physical effort to stand up straight. This is a strange phenomenon that never happened when I was younger. The stiffness persists for days—I still feel it—quite apart from the soreness which is fairly similar to what I remember.

Injuries also take much longer to heal. Over three weeks ago I somehow strained a muscle in my left forearm, the one used to tighten the fist. This is still troubling me, and making it difficult to pick up heavy objects with my left hand–it’s painful to get a firm grip. I strained plenty of muscles in my youth, but recover never took more than a few days. Muscle pain lasting several weeks is a new experience for me.

We do not merely inhabit our bodies; despite the dichotomy of the language, we are our bodies, and our bodies are us. Aging is just evolution’s way of clearing the deck for the next generation, and animals that I’ve known seem to take it in stride. It’s only our human habits of foreknowledge and recollection that make it strange. And yet to be living it myself is, inevitably, strange.

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