Mark Putnam | 5 Comments | Posted: January 12, 2012
A few years ago I was a consistent user of a fitness facility near my office in Boston – a proud member of the dawn patrol arriving at 6:20 a.m. At that hour only the truly dedicated were present. We were all creatures of habit arriving at the same time, greeting the same attendants, finding our way to the same lockers, using the same machines.
Mark Putnam | 7 Comments | Posted: January 31, 2011
A few years ago I was scheduled to meet with a colleague. He asked for the meeting to review some rather routine organizational work and set some plans in motion for the coming year. I did not see him often apart from these annual sessions and the occasional social event during which a bit of small talk would emerge. I knew very little about his background. I recall the region he was from and a bit about his professional experience. In truth, I could not have filled a 3×5 card with the amount of information I had gathered about his life and work.
Mark Putnam | 34 Comments | Posted: November 8, 2010
I had been in pain long enough. Multiple knee injuries (ACL, left knee) complicated by years of wear and tear were causing too much pain. The orthopedic surgeon entered the examination room to review the results of x-rays and an MRI. We were there to discuss options. He was blunt. “We don’t usually operate on people as old as you.” I was stunned, and for a moment I wanted to be an 18-year-old again and say, “Dude! Have you looked in the mirror recently? You’re like 70, and I’m too old?” That was more than five years ago and the surgery was a great success – despite my advanced age.
I also had the recent experience of hearing some members of my extended family describe how much I remind them of my maternal grandfather. Apparently the way I walk and some of my physical characteristics offer quite a resemblance. He died when I was in preschool, so I never really knew him. Just a few faint memories remain with me. I was honored to hear this since I know how much he is admired in my family, until it dawned on me that I was being told, “You look like your grandfather!” Maybe a few more sit-ups will help. And I’ve seen Rogaine sold in large containers. Does it come in a 55-gallon drum?
It seems the middle of life brings us to a threshold; a kind of liminal space where we become too old for some things and see before us the challenges of aging that are inevitable. We care for the young and the old at the same time. This hit me hard when I spent several days in Pennsylvania recently to be with my Mom.