The Persistence of Change

A couple of days ago I was watching my boys playing in the park and a game that had elements of “blind man’s bluff” and “tag” ensued.

Like his old daddy, my oldest is a natural runner. He was also the oldest, and tallest, of the children involved in the game, so whenever it involved the “tag” aspects, he was, literally, untouchable.

As is natural among boys, his dominance of the game led to his getting a little big for his britches, and a conversation ensued in which I told him he still wasn’t faster than ol’ daddy.

My youngest expressed a certain skepticism about this claim. Also fairly natural, since when he and I are playing together I (of course) dial it back to his level so he can have fun.

Well, on our way home from the park, #3 was chasing #1 and I went into action. Sure enough, both were surprised to learn that, indeed, I am still faster than my oldest.

Okay, Andrew, you can outrun a 12 y/o, big deal.

True, it’s not a big deal to outrun a 12 y/o. What is a big deal is that I did it from sitting still, with no warm up or preparation of my muscles. What’s more, I did it without getting out of breath, and the day after I had absolutely no aches or pains from doing it.

I mentioned somewhere along the way that I’ve started running again regularly, something I gave up about 10 years ago because of osteoarthritis in my knees and hips. In the intervening decade I completely relearned how to move, exercise and stand.

The journey I took in learning these things have given me back my ability to go for a run. A month ago, when I began running again, the first few times were rough. My stride wasn’t there, my wind wasn’t there, and when I was done my right knee ached.

But, after a week or two, the stride came back, the wind came back, and with the help of a cheap, neoprene running brace, my knee no longer hurts.

I can’t run like I did when I was 30 years younger, and 30 pounds lighter, but I can still run. And, once again, the changes I implemented in my body, and my movement, have rippled through all aspects of my life.

And, once again, those changes persist.

All of this came from a story about chasing my 12 y/o, but it illustrates a point I have made, over and over, and over again.

The changes you implement persist.

The longer you practice those changes, the more they become a part of your life, the longer they persist.