Aging Well

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“Oh, I’m too old for that “.

Spoken by someone 80?

Spoken by a young man. He was too old to learn to snowboard.

So often aging fosters an ageism attitude against living life in crescendo.

It creates the perspective that there is a ‘proper’ age for pursuing a life pleasure.

Even a simple life pleasure.

Like pierced ears.

Unlike babies today who get theirs pierced at six months, I had gotten mine done at the age of twelve. As so often happens (apparently), the holes kept closing up, as I stopped wearing them while caring for my young sons. Glittering gold in a mother’s ears tempts babies to touch and to pull.

When I occasionally attempted to wear pierced earrings, each time I painfully re-pierced them. Finally, I gave up, boxing my mostly gifted, pierced earrings.

I reasoned that I was too old to bother having my ears re-pierced.

Yet, if a child of ten said ,”My earholes are closing up, but, I won’t bother, I’m too old to get my ears re-pierced“, we’d laugh.

Too old?

Surely a ridiculous concept for a ten year old.

Yet, when a man or woman of 60+ says this, people typically nod in agreement.

Getting ears re-pierced is not a big deal nor is it expensive.

Yet, ageism held me back.

Where do we get the concept that we are too old?

Exactly what age is too old for challenges?

Exactly what age is too old for learning?

Exactly what age is too old for adventure?

Aging may effect both body and mind.

It need not affect aging well in spirit.

 

Live Life Aging WellAn eighty year old I know bought season tickets for this upcoming fall theatre, which commences in six months.

Therein lies the spirit of aging well.

Living life in crescendo means aging without ageism.

For me, aging well commenced with re-pierced ears.

Suffrage and Feminism

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10479988_439120949564529_4811504601313768767_nThis week, women in the United States are celebrating the climax of a 76 year battle.

Ninety-six years ago, a dramatic change to the 9th Amendment in the US Constitution formally gave women the right to vote.

Women today bask in the advantages and opportunities that suffrage brought to their lives.
Yet many are mostly unaware of the suffering the suffragettes endured  to achieve that first initial change- the right to vote.

So, while  I am not an enthusiast of Lady Gaga, I do appreciate this video parody that uses her song Bad Romance.

This parody displays the challenges the suffragettes endured in their pursuit of women’s emancipation and the brutal truth of suffragette Alice Paul. She was indeed sent to an sanitarium and forcibly fed via a tortuous method when she went on a hunger strike for women’s suffrage.

Thanks to this courageous suffering and tenacity of both well know advocates and countless women who supported the suffragettes, many of whom suffered physical abuse from their husbands, women today not only vote but are able to achieve any dream without hinderances.
In honour of their sacrifices, let’s remember these women and hope that one day all women globally will be empowered to pursue all their dreams.

Following a Dream, at any Age

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“You must do something to make the world more beautiful”.

Miss Rumphius was told these words as a small child by her grandfather.

But, as a child, she had no idea what that ‘something’ might be. 

When a child, do any of us know our future adult life, or where our life will be as it nears the end?

How then can we choose a way to made the world more beautiful?

Life consists of continually making choices, choosing one way from a multiple of ways.

In every single chosen way, opportunities arise for each and every one of us to leave the world more beautiful.

For some, it may be managing money, and blessing others.

For some, it may be raising children, and serving community.

For some, it may be sparking innovation and sharing discovery.

For some, it may be a simple idea.

Like Miss Rumphius, whose beautiful idea came when she was old.179709_613432588680936_939434399_n

She simply scattered lupine seeds wherever she walked in her small town.

Spring arrived with brightly coloured lupines blossoming everywhere.

We need not be world-renowned to live life in a beautiful crescendo.

We can simply be a simple woman with a simple idea.

Following Miss Rumphius’ example, we can choose to live life as fully as possible in the one way we can to make the world a beautiful place.

Even if it is in just one small way.

 

556620_362153563862515_329001886_nWho is Miss Rumphius?

She is a character in a well-loved child’s book.

Yet, is it fiction?

just look around.

There are lupines everywhere.

 

May my life legacy be as beautiful as I age well,  living my life in crescendo.

 

Health and Fitness

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10346390_746954752010927_4848753428256333557_nMy gym is flooding with newbies!

Fifty year old newbies, that is.

Although a bit tardy to this party, women over fifty years old are embracing the value of using a gym for their health and fitness.

To those who knew me in my younger days, my own gym membership late in life would astonish them.

You see, I was last picked for any team sport as a young girl. My nickname was four eyes. Not only did I have high-resolution prescription glasses before the age of ten, but I lacked basic physical coordination. I certainly couldn’t have foreseen a day I’d be a gym rat.

First, joining a gym wasn’t even an option for me years ago. While I exercised to an aerobic TV program that was in the secrecy of my home, where no one could see my inability to master any complex alternative arms and legs workout. Besides, not only did I assume that gyms were only for real athletes, but, they were all co-ed. Inherently shy, I was unwilling to dress in the classic gym attire for the male voyeurs there: tight leggings, bare midriffs, push-up bra.

But, several years ago, I began experiencing odd health issues. One day, while walking on a level trail with my husband through a gorgeous forest, I quite suddenly could barely move one more step. Bracing my arm to climb to street level, he placed me on a deserted bench and ran to retrieve our car, a 40 minute jog away.

After that, I hesitated to take a lengthy walk by myself. Yet, I missed walking.

What thrust me into a gym was my son’s two-hour horse riding lessons. To pass the time, I frequently drove to a nearby grocery store. I noticed a sign next door to it: All Women’s Gym.

All women? No males with bulging muscles or leering wandering eyes? Heading through the gym doors, my first impression was intimidation. Not only was music loudly blaring, but, there were young women everywhere in those tight leggings with taunt bare midriffs. Somehow, the perky young woman at the front desk persuaded me to join.

408150_510030765687786_1782231890_nAt first, I felt out of place amongst the multitude of toned bodies. But, it was wonderfully freeing. Daily, I’d walk as long as I could on a treadmill, step off the machine, jump into my car and arrive home safely.

Within a month, I walked listening to music with noise blocking ear buds on an iPod bought for me by my thoughtful sons.

Even though the young women smiled encouragingly to me, I was too nervous to use the weight machines.

Until, I learned that lifting weights maintains bone mass.

I bravely asked one young woman how she achieved her toned arm muscles. “Here”, she said, “sit down; I’ll show you how it works.”

Months later, I boasted to my sons to check out my hard-earned flexed biceps. Compared to their bulging muscles, mine were puny. They always said, “Way to go, Mom!”

But, my late in life successful entrance into the often-awkward world of the gym stirs my helper gene. Those gym newbies over 50 years old are just like I use to be. They sit down cautiously at a weight bearing machine, clumsily touch the handles or stare too long at the weights. Unfortunately, handling exercising equipment wrong can painfully create twice the needed effort. I ponder how long to watch them do it wrong. I don’t want them to give up in frustration.  I remember well my own feelings of inadequacy. How can I offer unasked for help but maintain their dignity? I solved my dilemma by doing what I once feared the most – I give them an opportunity to watch me correctly use those frustrating machines. And yes, they watch.

10653642_10152737552037743_4187924584240971238_nJust as I once obsessively watched an extraordinary woman in my first apprehensive months as a gym newbie.

Out of the corner of my eye, I’d watch her slowly and methodically do ten repetitions with a hydraulic exercise machine, rest, ten more, rest, ten more.

Well, not quite that fast. She’d tentatively slide off the padded seat, move her outstretched hand to grasp the next machine, guide her body along, slide onto the seat gently, and adjust the weights lower. Her excruciatingly slow paced limp between the machines was offset by her firm determination. I wondered about her story. Did she need to overcome similar phobias about gyms to my own? Did her family encourage her like mine, or did they try to dissuade her, fearing an injury?

Even though she was not a classic exercise role model, she motivated me. More than 20+ years my senior, she had fleshy hunched shoulders, and a potbelly. Watching her finely wrinkled face pinch while straining to do weights convinced me that neither age nor health nor ability would ever hinder me from exercising. The image of her exerting her aching aged body will keep me steadily working out at the gym, even if, no- even when -I become as slow moving as her.

598547_464328466963697_1635533765_nFor this elderly bent over woman completed her daily gym workout, with her oxygen tank trailing behind her.

She will always be my prime inspiration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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