I have been surprised by the negativity from on-lookers in my journey whose immediate response to my injury was, "You shouldn't have been playing ultimate at your age." Like I somehow deserved my injury because I am old. It wasn't like I was playing against a 24 year old, I actually collided with a 50 year old woman in the recreational league. It was a freak accident. At my age I know better than to try to play in the competitive league and I make sound decisions when choosing whom to cover. When I told my knee doctor that my goal was to play ultimate until I was 50, he didn't laugh and tell me it was out of reach. He told me that my knees will be good to go until I am 60 barring any other accidents. He didn't say, "Stop!"
The naysayers remind me of my grandmother although they come in all shapes and sizes, not just ladies of a certain generation. My grandmother often chided my mother for wearing sleeveless shirts at her age. My mom kept doing it and she still wears them despite her age and despite her mom's judgement. I will admit, there were times when my mom shouldn't have leaped onto the rock to follow me over a river while hiking. Visions of carrying her down the mountain on my back ensued, but didn't materialize even when she missed the rock. But there are valuable lessons that we learn about ourselves as we age---not ones that others decide or think we need to learn.
My aunt had a horrible fall from her seawall at low tide. She survived, but she has never been the same about heights. Recovering from a catastrophic injury or any injury at any age can do that to you, change your life perspective. She reminds me that I too may reevaluate what I want to do and wonders if playing ultimate will be in my future.
Currently I am taking it slow and carefully making decisions about what to do next as I continue to heal, a process that may take up to 12-18 months and my leg may still never work the same. I, however, am not letting people push me into exercises or actions that are inappropriate for where I am at at this stage of my recovery. Although I really wanted to do the Lake Lure Polar Plunge on New Year's Day, plunging into the icy lake with a boisterous crowd was not in my January 1, 2014 destiny.
I have no one to keep up with, but myself. I can't jump or sprint until April. I can't even think about competitive contact sports until May. I may never be able to do a lunge on my right leg without severe pain. I may not overcome my fear and play ultimate when I am finally allowed to play contact sports. I just might not be able to do many things that I once could do.
I do think I will keep moving and doing what I love in whatever form that takes even if I get hurt roller skating or playing ultimate. Even if others think, I might be a little too old. The real danger is when you stop moving.
I know I will find other activities that I will love a little less than ultimate when the time is right, but until them, I will embrace my age and my ability to play, play at whatever is just right for me. I will continue to push myself and perhaps from time to time get injured, not just from being old, but from being active.I carry the remnants of several injuries that predate my oldness. I will not let others' perceptions about what they think is appropriate for me take precedence over what I know is right for myself for me right now. And I will be careful about the presumptions I make about others. All the more reason for me