Ateneo De Naga high school 1980

Those who do not remember history are bound to live through it again.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Iron Age

During our family trip to Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona during the mid-1990s, I remember sitting on a rock near the edge of a cliff watching the sunset on the horizon. Near where I was sitting was a dusty hiking trail that snaked down all the way to the bottom of the canyon. I could see hikers laboring up the trail with some carrying heavy packs on their backs. The hikers that reached the end of the trail were all extremely worn out. Many of them told me that they never expected the hike to be that hard. They all started their hike from Colorado River which is on the bottom of the canyon at five in the morning. When I saw them at the end of the trail, the time was already four in the afternoon. Though majority of them were hikers, a few “cheated” by riding on rented mules. These were the only ones that reached the top of the cliff with smiles on their faces.

While I was watching a steady stream of tired trail warriors, I noticed this thin frail looking old guy walk up to the end of the trail without exhibiting any fatigue. He had a camel back water canteen, wore simple light clothes and a cheap looking generic backpack. I spark a conversation with this man asking him how come he does not seem to be too exhausted. He told me that once a year on his birthday, he would hike up the same trail at Grand Canyon to celebrate of his birth. He said that he had been doing this for many years. I asked him if he hiked alone and he said that there was a young man who decided to join him but the young lad was too slow that he ended up leaving him behind the trail.

What puzzled me about this old man was that even though he is a veteran hiker, his equipment did not reflect his level of skill. Almost all of his camping and hiking gear seemed to have been bought from a cheap swap meet (flea market). What surprised me the most is his choice of shoes. He had on a pair of these white unmarked rubber shoes that resembled the cheap Bata rubber shoes that used to be produced back in the 1970s. I jokingly told him that he was wearing high tech hiking shoes. He had a good sense of humor and replied, “It is not what you wear….it is more on WHO wears them” Pointing down the trail, the man said, “That young guy had fancy equipment”.

With a few exceptions, I think it is safe to say that most of us in our batch are now on our late 40s. The above experience I had at Grand Canyon proves that aging is not a reason for us to slow down. Though many of us are now grandfathers, (congratulations to those who are) we need to break the belief that aging people need to preserve whatever functionality our bodies still have by swaying away from strenuous activities.

Have you experience looking at a mirror and the person looking back at you is a middle aged unhappy person? Has years of stress, improper diet, lack of sleep and no exercise taken a toll on your body? Does it feel like each year that goes by, your energy level seemed to slide down the hill? When you come home from work and sit on your favorite couch, turn the TV on (thank goodness for remote control!!), you watch the news while waiting for that steak and eggs dinner with butter cake for dessert. Before bedtime, you down a bottle of Budweizer beer to ease yourself to sleep. Does this routine sound familiar to you? Some experts claim that this a common routine of middle aged people who resides in large cities.

Since all of the members in our batch are now middle aged people (boy, that sounds so ancient), I believe this is a great opportunity in our lives to be more involved with activities that would enhance our physical being. With our children already young adults, we need to grease up our joints to keep up with them.

It is now summer season in the Philippines and here in California, spring began a few weeks ago. The weather is clearing up with the snow clouds slowly dissipating. Have you decided what hobby to take this season? Want to explore a hiking trail? Swim laps off a beach or pier? Climb a mountain peak and take pictures during the sunrise? Race through the winding path of a forest on your bike? Conquer the distance between cities with your running shoes? Whatever you decided to do, do it for your heart and family.

A happy person brings blessings to his/her family.

Let’s hit the trail!


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