Posted by: smilecoach | May 28, 2010

Wow, what a ride!!!

One of my favorite quotes is:

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming…’Wow! What a ride!”

Source unknown’

 Well as a result of by-pass surgery my body, which includes a huge scar in the center of my chest, no longer qualifies for being pretty and well preserved (not that it ever did).  However, I am exclaiming, “Wow! What a ride!”  Since the surgery 4 months ago life has gotten better and better.  When I chat with friends they ask me, “How is the recovery going?”  I respond with, “GREAT!”  To which they add, “So are you getting back to your old self?”  To their surprise I say,” No, I am not getting back to my old self, I have zoomed past that and I am going for the new and improved version of Frank Mallinder.” 

 I am very grateful for God’s gift of heart surgery because it aided me in doing several things I was resisting doing when left to my own devices.  One of those things was getting in good physical condition.  My efforts at this over the past decade were sporadic.  For a month or two I would ride my bike 2-4 times per week.  The rides would be from 2 – 10 miles depending on my energy level.  On a few occasions I would push myself and ride more than 10 miles.  Somehow I would get distracted forget about getting on the bike for a while.  Then, out of the blue, for some reason I would spy my bike sitting in the corner of the garage, looking neglected, silently inviting me to hop on and for a spin around the town.   The spark for riding and getting fit would be ignited once more – temporarily. 

 Thanks to by-pass surgery that is no longer true.  By-pass surgery is unbelievably debilitating.  I hate being incapacitated in any way.  The only answer to that was to get up off my butt and get moving.  I did get moving and haven’t missed a day of exercise in over 3 months.  Granted, some of the early workouts consisted of just finding the strength to walk across the street. I never thought I would be happy just being able to get across the street.  But, I was and each day I would go a little further.  It wasn’t long before I was walking 45 minutes a day. Initially it wasn’t walking; it was more of a shuffle.  Last night my wife and I walked, not shuffled, 2.75 miles, including going up a hill I never thought I could master.  The ‘old version’ of Frank couldn’t make it up this hill on his bike with the gears set to make it very easy to pedal.  What a triumph that was easily walking up the hill. 

 I have vague memories of learning new things as a child, especially riding a bike and playing baseball. How exciting it was as a child to master something I really wanted to do.   Walking these past couple of months has been a similar experience.  I wish you could have felt the delightful energy inside of my body as I walked up that very steep hill.  It was pure joy.  What a gift I have been given to be in that naïve learning mode at the age of 64.  Wow, what a walk!   

 No, I am not recommending heart surgery as vehicle to recapture your youth.  I am saying that now I am doing something I love to do – exercise and be fit.  Why did it have to take surgery for me to wake up? 

 My suggestion to you is to by-pass the by-pass surgery and do what you love. 

Let me know when you proclaim, “Wow what a ride!”


  1. Frank…I am happy to hear you survived heart surgery. I survived a burst appendix last year and am living in my own space now. I separated from John as I realized I could no longer continue partnering with him and supporting him on his path. I love having my own space!
    Thank you for your caring, effective coaching…it was so meaningful and supportive for me.

    Love you.


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