I wonder if I will calm down when I get older. Probably not. I came into this world like a screaming comet of fury and brimstone, spitting embers in all directions as I flew from one passion to the next.
Occasionally, as I get older, I yearn for a day of peace and solitude. And as soon as the craving has entered my mind, I hope and pray to never stop.
I’ve known many who live (and die) by the endless “I need a vacation!” refrain. A vacation from what, precisely? Apparently from life; it’s hard, after all.
Many have insisted on warning me of the dangers of bodybuilding—“Don’t you realize that when you get older, your joints are going to hurt and your body is going to get beat up?” For fuck’s sake, I sure hope so! I can’t imagine sitting on my porch in old age with a fresh, vibrant young body, wondering what could have been, wondering how great I could have looked, if only I had pushed the envelope, not held back, not been afraid to test the limits and see what I had in the tank.
I hope when I get “old”—whenever that day comes—there is nothing left to my body. I hope on the day of my death, every organ simultaneously fails and every conceivable cancer known to man clutches my soul and chokes the spark out of me. I hope my joints hurt, I hope my hands are callused, I hope I am exhausted. I hope I wear the battle scars of life proudly across my body. “Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. Realize the strength, move on.” (Henry Rollins)
I refuse to die a porcelain China doll of perfection. My scars and imperfections are what will make me unique and tell the tale of the life I lived. I hope my body, mind, and soul have been taxed to full capacity. I hope to have no legacy left over to leave—I hope to burn every ember, every piece of the comet tail that trailed me into existence.
I hope to never become “normal” as I get older. Sure, it’s easier. And in life, pretty much without fail, we find that easier sucks. Easier always leaves a bad taste in your mouth after the fact. I could begin to agree more with other people, to be less argumentative, to “see things from their perspective”. I could adopt ethical or political views that swim with the current. I could pretend to care about American Idol, or whatever other piece of programming tripe happens to be dominating the airwaves this week, so that I had something to “chat” about with others at social functions. I could become passive, and try to “blend in”. I could do what older people are supposed to do, and go from a youthful idealism to a jaded cynicism—“But the world doesn’t work that way! That’s crazy!” Well why not? Why can’t the world work that way?
I could start to see things in the countless shades of gray that everybody insists on telling me the universe is made of, rather than the cold, hard black and white of mathematics and logic. I could view the galaxy through that gray-scale lens, until everything become a muddied shade of apathy, rather than seeing with the clear-cut boundaries and high-definition borders of “yes” and “no”, of epistemological and ethical certainty.
I could slow down, and drive five miles an hour under the speed limit, as seems to be expected of me—rather than constantly pushing right to the borderline, right to the edge of getting pulled over, then grinning and dialing it back just long enough to keep moving forward, to not be stopped by the flashing lights of normalcy. I could float and drift from one destination to another, rather than gliding with the effortless purposefulness of a man on a mission at all times, with not a moment’s worth of life to spare or waste.
I could replace the fire of youth with the ice of old age, and approach life like a constant half-way contest, to see precisely how average I could end up being.
I always loved the movie “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me”. When discussing possible orientations towards life, Donna asks Laura Palmer, “If you were falling in space, do you think you would slow down after a while or go faster and faster?” To which Laura responds, “Faster and faster. And for a long time you wouldn’t feel anything. And then you’d burst into flame.”
I don’t want the angels to help me. I am the comet that will outpace them. As I get older, as my days on this planet grow, I have to keep reminding myself it is my job to give the command: Fire, walk with me. If you can keep up, that is.
-David A. Johnston
David Johnston is the founder and lead trainer of TEAM Warrior Within. You can also listen to him weekely on the GEARD Up podcast. ( GEARDUp.com ) David works with clients ranging from the everyday person just trying to lose weight and get healthy, local and national bodybuilding and physique competitors, to IFBB professional athletes.
David lives and breathes all things related to physique transformation, and has devoted nearly half of his life to passionately studying and educating himself to be the absolute best at what he does. His intensity in the gym is matched only by the passion he gives to his clients.