Thursday, 15 January 2015

but i don't want to be THAT guy

And after newbie’s euphoria comes… this.

Last night was my second session of Tai Chi. I saw the tutor beforehand, who told me that everybody forgets everything they’ve learnt. In fact, she said that when I went home that evening, I would be able to remember what we did last week – but nothing from this week. Which turned out to be true.

I really enjoyed the warm up and I get the fact that what seems complicated at the moment will eventually (hopefully?) turn into muscle memory as opposed to the Directors Cut of King Arthur On Ice.

However, the main thing I took away from last night was how appalling my balance is and how incredibly weak my legs are. And it made me feel very, very self-conscious in a room full of strangers.

I know – BLOGGER GUILTY OF SOLIPSISM – steps back in amazement, I’ve never heard the like, etc.

And I don’t want to be a master of Tai Chi – but I do want to be a little less shit.

Like I said, the warm up and the focus on breathing are great – it’s just when you have to string together phrases and are required to place your foot down slowly heel-to-toe. The word galumphing springs to mind. And I have literally no idea where my hands are meant to be at any point.

In reality, I know that no-one in that room is going to be marking me down – we’re all too busy looking at our own feet.

The reason I’m doing this is to try to stave off my (inevitable?) physical decline, which feels more and more noticeable (and, yes, inevitable). The idea of leaving the house without my stick and/or car seems frankly ridiculous. But I need to keep moving – otherwise I’ll just stop, right?

Later that day I was talking to my wife about all the great holidays we’ve been on in the past and how we’re probably never going to do anything similar again – and that really hit me hard.

It’s the occasional subtle reminder of just how much you’ve lost – MS is truly a condition which takes and takes.

As an aside, I’m the Vice Chair of a group to do with where I work (CULTURAL ELITE) and the Chair is stepping down – interestingly she’s the person who got this job way back when. Anyway, I just mentioned to her earlier today that I wouldn’t automatically be stepping up to take the Chair’s position when she left.

And she said, “Steve, you’re f**king amazing, why wouldn’t you?” – I swear I nearly broke down at her feet.

I can talk a good game about the Spoon Theory and it’s failings, and that "it's at least part of a culture which encourages people to think about what they can't do instead of the things they can". But I’m just as guilty as anyone of taking the easy way out.

Will I be going to Tai Chi again? Yes. 
Will I position myself by a wall? HELL YES. 
Will I beat myself up for not maintaining the proper form? Probably – but I know I shouldn’t.

And will I step up to lead the CULTURAL ELITE to a brighter tomorrow? Hmmm…


swisslet said...

I know it's easy to talk a good game on this one, but focus on what you have, not what you haven't got... you can't change what's already happened but, by doing something like Tai Chi, you're giving yourself the best chance of maximising what you have.
Sorry if that sounds trite, but you're not one of those misery wallowers and I don't think you ever really will be. We all have our moment, mind....
I gave up Tai Chi cos it used to be after my weekly football game and I found it too damn hard. Now I don't play football anymore, I don't have quite the same excuse!

swisslet said...

I was measured for a pair of leather lederhosen jeans the other day (honestly, bear with me... that's another story). I mentioned to the craftsman that my left leg is substantially smaller than my right (he was only measuring my right). He smiled at me. Maybe it's something everyone says. My wife said it again, in German, and he raised an eyebrow and picked his tape measure back up again and measured my left. 1.5cm different. Doesn't sound like much, but that's quite a lot of muscle bulk on your biggest muscle. That's *visibly* different (I'm told)

It's great, this condition, eh?