The Gravity of Getting Old

Dr. Dad Bod
3 min readApr 30, 2024

I went down.

I don’t mean that in a tragic sense or in a salacious sense, but in a literal sense.

I enjoy rucking, which is the masochistic practice of wearing a bunch of weight while hiking. It’s a killer workout, and since I hate running but love nature, it is more or less a perfect fit.

The author, upright, wearing my 50 pound vest

What is NOT perfect, though, is falling when you are wearing a lot of weight, and what is even MORE not perfect is falling when you wearing a lot of weight and 53 years old.

When I was young, I could fall with grace. I spent hours jumping my bike off homemade ramps sans helmet ( nobody wore helmets in the 80s. It just didn’t occur to anyone that a kid could bash their skull on the ground) and rocketing down massive inclines on Powell Peralta skateboards. I played tackle football without any pads, played soccer on rock strewn fields, and did martial arts and wrestling. In all of those, I would occasionally fall and though I broke the hell out of my left arm once, I generally fell gracefully. I could roll with gravity, spread the impact out across my body, and get up with no problem.

It is safe to assume that gravity hasn’t changed , but I sure as hell have.

When I fell over the weekend, it was because I caught the tip of my boot on a downed tree. I had a split second to realize “Uh-oh, I am goin’ down” and then WHAM! I flailed and plummeted to the ground with all the aplomb of the turkeys in the WKRP Turkey Drop .

I am lucky that I didn’t have to watch myself fall, because I must have looked like the Scarecrow running away on fire.

I was able to get my right arm up, and it crashed into the downed tree, removing a healthy chunk of skin and leaving a gnarly bruise.

Then, my right knee/ shin thumped into a rock, scraping it up and leaving a sizeable bump just below the kneecap. Then, as the final insult, the back of my weight vest, imprisoned by the inertia of my motion, came up and thumped me in the head like Mo slapping Curly and Larry.

Unlike when you are young, when you are old and fall like this, you need to rest a minute and do mental system check. Is anything broken? Did I get a concussion? Can I get up?

Fortunately, the answers to my respective questions were : no, no, yes!

I finished my hike with a limp, a lesson, and the comforting thought that although I have obviously lost the ability to fall gracefully somehow, at least nobody was around to witness my comedic collapse.

So, as I said before, gravity hasn’t changed but I have. I hit the ground hard and have few new decorations on my body to show for it. But, at least I have this: although the ground hurt, I am happy that, despite the fall, I still reside above the ground and am not rotting underneath it!



Dr. Dad Bod

I am a husband, father, teacher, and soccer coach, and aspiring writer residing in Northern Virginia. More than anything, I love having fun and pushing myself!