I had never had a physical injury or illness that didn’t go away in time.

Then, several years ago, I was doing something fun, and I felt something snap.

No big deal. So, I had pulled a muscle and not for the first time. Indeed, with time, the soreness and tightness went away, but in its place was a new stiffness in my right hip joint; a kind of catching or locking when I stood up from sitting or after leaning in a certain way.

Definitely a new development.

Self diagnosis: Groin muscle healed funny, throwing my posture off and stressing joints. No biggie, I knew what to do, and I did what I have always done: Yoga for stretching and alignment. But yoga hurt, and not the good kind of hurt; and not being able to do what I used to do so easily was alarming and depressing and made me feel wrong.

I could not love and accept myself where I was in the moment, so I sneaked out the back never to return. OK, a bigger deal than I thought. Next step — chiropractor. Not even temporary relief, though I really enjoyed the peace and the heat packs, but not the dollars drifting from my checkbook.

So when these tried-and-true methods offered no real relief I tried something new — I went to get Rolfed. I liked it; it is smart and made sense. I practiced walking like Fred Astaire, light and fluidly and with a renewed sense of grace, and still the hip catch was no better.

And time went on.

The TV was depressing, if reassuring. The commercials aimed at me and my fellow aging baby-boomers had changed: Over-the-counter meds for arthritis, prescriptions for bad bones, Viagra and Depends and their competitor, Tenas (read “adult diapers”) available in bulk from Liberty Medical Supplies, pills for overactive bladders, hover-round mechanical chairs offering freedom from walking were being directed at me confirming my infirmity as an unwelcome but age-appropriate rite of passage.

I was growing older and older was becoming old and old was becoming infirm. Last winter, I fell awkwardly and embarrassingly, not once but three times, and I stopped venturing out unless necessary.

Some days were worse than others, sometimes a week would go by with little or no discomfort and then on Christmas 2008 I was in bed with sciatica. It sucked, but in a way it was a relief to have something with a name, something that would and did go away.

The sciatica left, but the hip stuff remained and I became resigned. Ironically, I was not in constant pain. If I didn’t move, it didn’t hurt. Catering to the limitation of my body was doing nothing good for my brain, as noted by my familiarity with TV commercials, and slowly but surely I had little to look forward to.

I couldn’t dance, I couldn’t hike and sex was out of the question, as were travel and even a day of bargain-hunting in the shops. My once-big world was getting very, very small and I was calling in sick to life. I stopped seeing clients; the audacity of claiming I could help others when I could not help myself was as unsupportable as my body was for my hip.

I finally reached a point where I just couldn’t move this malcontent body part, not because it hurt too much, but because it just wouldn’t, couldn’t move.

My best friend dragged me to the emergency room at Waldo County General Hospital. She demanded I find out what was going on, and I agreed, hoping they would give me some not-available-over-the-counter drugs. We both got what we wanted.

The handsome young doc read my X-rays. He assured me that I was neither a wimp nor a hypochondriac, and complimented me on my ability to stand. My hip was shot, no longer resembling a joint. Full hip-replacement surgery was needed and scheduled within the week.

What I got this Christmas was a new right hip, and with this new hip a life. I am five weeks into rehab. I can drive, walk, climb stairs and wash my own bathtub.

My wonderful surgeon assures me that in short order I will forget that I have had major surgery and my body clock will be turned back by at least four years before I heard that fateful snap.

What have I learned? Pain is not a natural part of aging, and it can be my friend if I only learn to listen and not assume that it is my due. I now know I can receive top-of-the-line medical care right here in my little hometown.

I am not alone. So many of my peers also have metal parts and wonderful stories of miraculous healing. I can reopen my mind-body connection and experience pleasure in the physical.

Goodbye, couch; yoga, here I come.