“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
When Dylan Thomas wrote these words in 1947, it was an ode to the unquenchable strength of the the human spirit. I am not a student of literature by any stretch, as I presume my dodgy prose makes quite clear to those unfortunate enough to stumble upon it, but I imagine that inspiration for this piece came from WW 2, and the extraordinary courage that characterised the British people during dark times. (No doubt other nations have times in history when their people strode on in the face of intolerable circumstances, and I do not mean to offend by omission. Just writing about what I know!)
When we learn about literature at school or college, meanings and interpretations are foisted upon us, but one of the great things about any art form, is that each of us can choose how we perceive and understand a piece of work, be it a painting, song or poem.
Some years ago, for artistic reasons which shall remain clouded in mystery, I was researching some poems. Like many of us, I had come across Thomas’ work in passing, but not really thought of it very much. However, this time, it caught me, really blew me away. Maybe a consequence of being older, of having seen people close to me pass away. A realisation of mortality. A personal call to arms, a need to not give up and roll over. As a Christian, I can face that day of reckoning with Faith and confidence, but that doesn’t mean I want to give up on the here and now! Life should be enjoyed not endured, celebrated not tolerated. I know we don’t all that luxury, but make choices….you know my thoughts on this.
Today, a mate of mine, N , shared an article (I will spare the technical detail – E at O Level physics was the peak of my scientific achievement…) but the essence is that high intensity exercise formats, HIIT, circuits, Crossfit type stuff, fires up ‘telomeres’, bits of protein on the end of our chromosomes, and somehow rejuvenates them. Potentially adding up to 10 years on your life. Don’t ask me, the folk at Brigham Young university say so. Working on the assumption that they are pretty smart, I’ll take that!
N is another guy, who is raging against the dying of the light. He is a bit younger than me, but we are sharing the same journey. He looks amazing and is achieving great things (though my deadlift is better than his…) All these exercise regimes don’t just give your telomeres a boost, they give confidence. You lose weight, you rediscover muscles that have lain dormant for years. Your balance is better, you feel strong. Back and knee pain is reduced. And hey, your ego gets a bit of a boost. I would be lying if I said that outdoing guys 20 years younger in the gym is not a motivating factor. Outdoing a younger version of yourself is pretty cool too – I am lifting heavier than a 27 year old Carl.
So go to the circuit classes, get the pulse racing. Lift. Yeah it hurts, but the day comes when you are warming up with what was your one rep max! And that, my friends, is a sense of achievement.
Don’t accept the slowdown.
N & I training 😀
How he really looks!