Lessons About Aging From Two Poets

Thu. May 2, 2019

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I’ve been an athlete all of my life, albeit never an excellent one. I did well as a sprinter in high school, I was good enough at tennis to be invited to play doubles for U.C. Berkeley.

I’ve been practicing some martial or other since I was 6.

As a martial artist I’ve won my share of trophies and belts in full-contact karate, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, submission grappling, and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) competition.

I competed professionally in MMA for about six years while in my mid- to late thirties.

But I was never at the level of Olympic athletes or UFC fighters.

Athletic Memories

Nevertheless, I can’t help but feel a sense of sadness when I read A.E. Houseman’s “To An Athlete Dying Young”.

It’s an elegy to anyone who has competed in some any form of athletics to which they have devoted their heart, sinews and countless hours.

Unlike the athlete of that poem, I have lived long enough to regard those athletic achievements of yesteryear wistfully.

Continue Striving

But just as Houseman’s poem serves as a reminder of those precious athletic memories and of how much my aging body disappoints me daily, Dylan Thomas’ poem, “Do not go gentle into that good night” reminds me to continue striving for whatever level of excellence is still open to me.

In this video below, I’m using paused deadlifts to help me recover from my second back surgery last fall.

The Olympic Committee or the UFC will never come a calling, but I cannot give up on my quest to continue working on my strength in the gym and practicing my skills in the dojo.

I’m an Athlete of Aging now and my arena is Life. My victory will be living out the rest of my years fully, ever striving, never quitting!

If you’d like to explore options for living life as your strongest self, feel free to book a phone appointment with me, Francisco Villalobos, owner of Inner Strength Fitness.

It’s empowering to discover the options you have.