|At Squires Lake last Thursday|
These Senior Trailblazer hikes every Thursday are the highlight of my week. During the summer we head into the High Country and enjoy some more difficult exertions, but in the winter we stay closer to home, with shorter drive times and easier hikes. I never miss these outings if I can avoid it. I'll miss one hike, the first in February, while I visit my sister Norma Jean in Florida. She will keep me on my toes, though, swimming first thing every morning at her local YMCA outdoor pool (a real treat for me), then going for a VERY fast walk around her retirement community with her. I actually must keep up a light jog in order to stay with her. She is a little taller than me, but it's her stride that makes the difference.
I had my annual doctor visit this past Friday, and he told me to keep doing whatever I'm doing, because everything looks good. My cholesterol numbers were a little higher than I was happy with, but he told me to concentrate on the ratio between the good and bad cholesterol, which was very much lower than average. My weight is stable from last year, but there is one thing that really disturbed me: I'm even shorter than I was last year at this time. Now I measure 5'2" and one-quarter inch, and last year that quarter inch was a half inch; the year before it was three-quarters. That means next year I'll be an even 5'2" -- a full inch shorter than I like to think of myself as being.
In the mid-1980s, I went to the Rolfing Institute in Boulder, where I lived, and received ten sessions of Rolfing. I wrote about my experience here, if you want to know more about what it actually is. Basically, though, Rolfing is a little like intense deep tissue massage. I gained height when I had it done back then, but I am not so sure I would gain any additional height now. In fact, on Tuesday of next week I will visit a Rolfer and ask her if she could maybe give me back any of that missing height. I'm not optimistic, but I remember that back then the effect was almost immediate. The session where the Rolfer worked on my spine released some barriers to correct posture. I didn't actually GROW any, but the connective tissue in my spine had been realigned to allow me to stand straighter.
I've been aware for a long time that I'm taller at the beginning of the day than I am at its end. That must be the spine reacting to gravity's effect over the course of the day. And there's the possibility that all those openings under my parachute over the years (more than four thousand of them) could have something to do with it. Going from freefall speed to being suspended under my canopy is rather an abrupt jolt to the spine. Usually it doesn't hurt because I've packed my parachute properly to lessen the impact, but sometimes things don't work as expected. I've experienced at least a dozen extremely hard openings over the years. They probably didn't do anything positive for my posture.
It's been three months since I last made a skydive, and it's funny how little I miss it. In the old days, when I was new in the sport, I wouldn't be able to go for such a long time without craving the experience of freefall. I know it's hard to imagine, but it's really addictive. Now that I've accumulated more than 67 hours of freefall time, it's no longer something I need to do every week. In fact, I can see the day coming when I will no longer jump out of airplanes for pleasure. I thought by the time I reached the age of 70, I'd stop, but circumstances have allowed me to continue, at least for awhile. I intend to get my gear in date and give it a try again this coming summer.
The main thing, for me, is to stay active for as long as I can, continuing to enjoy the social aspect of exercise with my friends, and continue the social aspect of belonging to that wonderful group of JOS (Jumpers Over Seventy) that I met last October when we tried to set a new record for the largest number of JOS in a formation. We didn't succeed, but I met some wonderful role models and had a wonderful time. I realized that I am not alone, and that's important for someone like me who needs to feel that sense of belonging.
Today I'm going to the movies again, this time to see "August: Osage County" with my friend Judy. Meryl Streep has been nominated for Best Actress for her role in this movie, along with Julia Roberts for Best Supporting Actress. We've got one more movie we need to see while it's here: "Inside Llewyn Davis," which is on many lists for Best Picture of the Year, although it was overlooked at the Oscars. I missed "12 Years a Slave" when it was here, but I'm hoping it will come back. I didn't go because I was afraid of all the violence, but people who have seen it have told me it's worth it. There are a lot of good movies this year, in my opinion.
And, of course, there's the do-or-die football game that will be played in Seattle today. I've got my fingers crossed for the Seahawks! I probably won't watch the game because I get too wound up in it, and what happens has nothing to do with whether or not my eyeballs are glued to the screen. I hope that you will have your own desires fulfilled this week, whatever they are. Until we meet again next week, I am sending you lots of good wishes from this part of the blogosphere to yours.