By: John D. Pepe
Man, it is hard getting older. Now that I’m firmly settled in my forties (45 to be exact), I empathize with this “older” Logan. I’ve always been active, still am, but not unlike Wolverine it hurts to extend my claws, so to speak.
I’ve been a practicing martial artist since I was twelve, branching out into all different styles. Up until 3 years ago I still felt like I had it. That fire. That drive. I could feel I was slowing down, but I was still able to keep up with, if not present a serious challenge to the twenty-somethings.
Now, I no longer feel I can even keep up with thirty-somethings. After a night of jiu-jitsu my body aches. In fact, half my battle in continuing my training is finding the energy and impetus to get my derriere off the couch and don my gi. So often these days I vacillate between continuing my training and quitting. The question is now will continue long enough to earn my black belt? And if I do will I then give up on my training? (It feels kind of like Logan in that he just wanted to earn enough money to buy a boat, and retire at sea)
Well, although I’ve contemplated it I haven quit yet. There still something in there to give, even at my advance age (that is as it pertains to the fighting arts). And although I want my black belt, I don’t feel like I’m just showing up until the day I earn it. I go because I feel better when I do. I feel better physically (even though I still have aches and pains), emotionally (even though my ego gets bruised at times), mentally (I’m grow in my knowledge every time I step on the mats), and that inspires me, making me feel spiritually sound. I have found my motivation is no longer to be able to feel like I can defend myself, but because I grow as a human when I train. This isn’t just a martial artist thing, this is a life thing. This is me still needing to grow as a human being.
I think Logan had to grow. And this last movie was his biggest growth spurt ever. He gave up himself, knowing that he was likely to be defeated, to be killed, in order to get his daughter (dare I say), X-23 and her mutant companions, to safety. He did it because he knew he had to. It is what drove him to keep going even when he wanted to give up. Knowing I’m still growing is what keeps me going as well.
So my advice, as a 45 year old struggling athlete who feels like Logan: take a page out if his book and find your X-23. Find your motivation, that thing that keeps you going. The activity that keeps you growing. Maybe you just do a little less, or do a little different, but whatever you do don’t stop. I think if we stop we are on the path to not living, because then we stop growing. Keep going no matter what. Find your X-23, keep up the good fight, and keep growing.