Swimming is my meditation. Strokes forward, head underwater, gazing at the aqua world that surrounds me. Rhythm in my moves, remotely connected to the world around me, aware that people are nearby yet not engaged with them. It’s an activity in which no one expects me to do anything except move forward and back, one end of the pool to the other. All sense of time falls by the wayside as my body settles into a pattern of movement designed to stretch and release all tension and anxiety. It’s life at its best. A blue gem shimmering in the morning light, sunlight streaming through the blue azure sky and white cotton ball clouds.
Despite what the numbers might say on my birth certificate, the Grim Reaper was not invited to my birthday party. I’m sure he thinks that 65 candles are a fire hazard way beyond my lung capacity. What he didn’t know was that I’d been training for this Medicare showdown since I turned 60.
The last time I passed that milestone birthday, I decided that, I’d get awesome, not old. Having wasted most of my life learning how to be a grownup, I wondered how one becomes awesome.
My answer was to create my 60+ year old self into an improved version of me. I would go toe-to-toe and eye-to-eye against aging. It was going to take all my body parts working together to tame this thing. Turning back the clock may not be possible, but slowing down its forward movement was doable.
Fitness magazines touted exercise as a possibility toward graceful aging. As if on cue, Melanie, my 25-year old daughter-in-law, invited me to hot yoga.
Exercise, healthy eating and a variety of potions (which are my secret) keep me alive and kicking as I enter the years that some call “senior.” I realize that I won’t be able to hold aging off indefinitely, but I can probably drag my feet long enough that it will wait for me.
Face it. We’re all looking for the Fountain of Youth. Some of us subject ourselves to botox injections, although personally I’d rather die with my wrinkles than let anyone near my face with a needle. But that’s just me. Perhaps if I were a movie star or some other public figure I’d want my looks to take precedence over my sanity and comfort.
When I got the email announcing “Fall Prevention” I jumped into action, all set for a protest. With so many of our liberties at stake, now they want to take away my favorite season?
I marched into the meeting room ready to chant, armed with an “I love autumn” sign and my protest hat perched menacingly on my head. Imagine my relief when I realized that it was a program to teach adults of a certain age how to avoid falls in their advancing years.
My relief morphed into dismay when I learned that the simple act of remaining upright when a slight wind blows became an issue for me on my last birthday. Each year, more than one in four older adults aged 65 and older will fall.
Ask any expert how to maintain healthy aging and they’ll tell you to eat right and exercise. I’ve read it in books. My general practitioner told me, as did the chiropractor who said I should keep training for a marathon, despite all my aches and pains. I’m not sure that his motive is pure.
So, here I am in a class called Barre Pilates, which would be better named Get Out While You Can Still Walk. I walked in here just fine, but, judging by how my nerve endings are jumping right now, I may be carried out on this beautiful blue yoga mat.
One person’s dire is another’s it’s not that big a deal. Dictionary.com defines dire as :
1. causing or involving great fear or suffering; dreadful; terrible: a dire calamity.2. indicating trouble, disaster, misfortune, or the like:
dire predictions about the stock market.3. urgent; desperate: in dire need of food.
I think that the key to life is to determine when I’ve reached a situation that is dire. This is especially true as I’ve gotten older. Those tasks I was once able to achieve such as scrambling up a step ladder to reach the top shelf in my kitchen – now that I can’t do it – dire or not that big a deal? Should I be focusing my exercise program in the direction of upward mobility on said ladder or let it go as one of the casualties of aging? Continue reading “Dire Conditions?”
Back when I was growing up, a waif-like model named Twiggy burst onto the scene. A body replete with skin and bones and a short haircut was uncharacteristic of the times, yet as a super-model in England in the 1960’s, her influence on teenaged girls was instantaneous.
Back then, skinny was everything. We equated over-thinness with beauty and health, in priority order. I recall making sure that my hip bones were prominent when I laid on the beach. The more pronounced they were, the more attractive I believed I was.