Saturday, June 29, 2013

You really are as you act.

The older I get, the more I pay attention to the physicality of life. Maybe it's because, with age, I'm finding I have to be more active in order to stay more active. That circuitous statement makes perfect sense, right? What I mean is, I want to continue to be active, but I just can't get up and "do" like I used to. I have to work on it. I have to work to keep my body able and willing. I didn't have to do this in my 20's and 30's.

Now that I'm in my 40's, things come harder. Hard work makes me hurt, and it takes a lot longer to recover. All I have to do is look at certain food and I gain weight. So, I'm making changes. I make a point to exercise more; eat better; be "in" the moment and ask if this is doing me good or bad.

It's not easy. My daily schedule is a mess and I can't always carve out time for major workouts. I'm responsible for more than just me and after taking care of them, working all day, taking care of the house, I'm exhausted. My husband laughs at me because, more often than not, I'm upstairs in bed by 9:30. I didn't used to listen to my body when I get tired. Now, I have no choice.

But the whole point of this is a thought I had months ago. That is, you are how you act. If you act with purpose  - moving, exercising, taking care of yourself - your body reacts positively and allows you to keep doing the things you love. If you don't keep moving and taking care of yourself, your body mounts a mutiny and slowly betrays you, not allowing you to do things.

Case in point, two women, both of whom I know very well. One is 63, the other, 70. Yes, there's a bit of an age difference, but I don't think it's too much to prevent comparison. Both were very active in their younger years, but time has really changed that.

The younger of the two is my own mother. She's a real go-getter. She's always been very conscious of her health and lifestyle. In part, due to having two sisters who are both overweight and one of them has some serious health issues. She eats very well, even though she doesn't deprive herself of treats. She eats with balance. She makes a point to keep moving, even though she has arthritis and osteoporosis. And she does it every single day. Living like this, she's able to continue doing the things she loves. Like taking an annual summer vacation with the grandchildren that would wear me out. She truly loves life.

The other lady is not in the same boat. Even when I met her years ago, when she was close to the age I am now, she was not what I'd call an active woman (though I learned she was very active in her 20's and 30's). Yes, she was on her feet and moved a lot, and her job did require physicality. But outside of work, she wasn't really active at all. And over the course of time, that never changed. Now, she's gained weight, doesn't have a lot of stamina, and declares that "she's too old" to do this or that.

Really? Why does age have to have anything to do with it? Why do people believe a simple number precludes them from "doing?" I'd like to see someone tell my mom she's too old for multi-state road trips, going to the beach, the Grand Canyon, or Disneyland. She'd tell you what to do with that kind of attitude. But she'd do it nicely, without swearing, because she's nice like that.

That's NOT the life I want in 20 years. I want to be doing the things I do right now. I don't want to be a grey haired lady content to sit in front of the tv or out on the porch. I want to have a long and vital life, until the day death takes me kicking and screaming.

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