The bottom line is that I really should retire to something less strenuous than slinging large wheeled pieces of iron tube. But I fought so hard to be accepted, first into the club, then as an artillerist---a long and arduous battle of crashing male bastions, etc. I feel like backing off even a little would be conceeding to the men who didn't want me in *their* hobby. It's not even rational, since I've outlasted everyone who was in the club when I joined. (Bob Hayes, my artillery mentor, doesn't count, since he mostly reenacts with the Southern California folks, now. And he was always one of my biggest supporters. And even he's worried about me.) I am slowly coming to the conclusion that I might want to stop slinging heavy metal. Realistically, I've reluctantly started to face the fact that I'm just not in as great health as I was when I started. And it's been painful to admit. It's like conceeding a defeat, to age if nothing else. And while I think that dropping dead while doing something you enjoy is a nice way to go, I don't really want to drop dead any time soon. And, well, it's hard to enjoy it when you're not feeling too great. I might stay in artillery if it was...well, less work. But 3-day weekends tend to put me into death-march mode in themselves.
And mortality is knocking on my door, of late. My two closest friends *who were younger than me* are dead, including my compatriot who was doing all the early Civil War stuff with me, who would work herself to the bone on these weekends along with me, back when we had to be so much better than everyone just to be marginally accepted. But she "retired" from Civil War a few years ago, and said that she didn't miss the stress. Hmmm.