Monthly Archives: October 2012

Forever Young?

I think one of the challenges of being in my sixties is to know my limitations but not let them limit me. This has become a kind of mantra. I used to say: “accept my limitations” but I’ve refined the concept to include ‘knowing’. I don’t want society or an individual defining me or my ability or limitations. I won’t accept their perception of what a senior citizen can or cannot do. Neither do I want to be an idiot and push myself beyond my capacity. Been there, done that and am writing the book about driving with a cast on my foot. (Trust me, don’t try it! Thank goodness, when I did I was on a deserted street.)

At my age, you do realize you can only push your body so much and it will push back. Hence, the knee, hip, shoulder replacement docs are doing a booming business. When I go to the gym and see guys lifting massive weights with so much effort that their faces are contorted, I foresee a future for them of contorted limbs. I know I need to respect my own limbs better than I have.

Aging is not something my generation is accepting gracefully. We’re the “forever young” babyboomers, dontcha know? But I don’t want to block enjoying and understanding this part of my life, even if the United States of America categorizes aging as a disease. I basically feel healthy and vibrant, brimming with vitality, especially if I get that catnap every day! I think most people my age do feel great,  although we’re portrayed quite differently in the media. Madison Avenue would have me wearing a LIFE ALERT in case I fall and can’t get up.

Here’s what sixtish looks like.

Self knowledge is important to me. I want to know who I am, what I want in life, where I’m going. In order to do that, I need to get quiet, which I find increasingly hard to do. It’s so easy now, being IPhone addicted, to never have a conversation with myself. Even on a walk alone, I can call my friend in Minnesota and talk the whole time, like I did today. Or in the car, I can talk or listen to music or a book. I never turn off so that I can tune in to my inner voice.

The other day I took a gym class that I thought might lead me to some inner reflection. It was called the Warrior Within. I saw that it combined Tai Chi, Yoga and meditation. I didn’t read the fine print, which explained the class featured the BOSU. Heck, I didn’t even know what a BOSU was. When I saw that little half-dome, it looked innocuous enough, and I liked the blue color. I thought, how bad could it be? I didn’t know that some sadist had created the disstablizer from hell.

BOSU Batterer.

We had to stand on it, which was not easy. Then we were expected to move on it and do a sun salutation while keeping our balance. We had to kneel on it and do leg lifts, turn over and do crunches. There was only me in the class and a guy who looked like he was in mid-forties. Damn, I wanted to quit, but my pride wouldn’t let me. I forged on, becoming the Little Engine that could—even if it was killing me.

Look at the biceps on these guys. Sheesh!!!

One of my inner voices said, “It is good to try new things. It is good to be challenged.” Another voice cussed that one out. I said aloud, “Are you kidding me?” The only good thing was that time, which normally flies by, slowed down to the point that each minute lasted at least ninety seconds.

So what did I learn about myself: I’m getting old? I have terrible balance? I don’t know when or how to quit? I can do more than I thought I could? I’m not sure what I learned. I’ll have to get back to you on that.

Celebrity Citings and Honoring our Vets

I’ve just had an interesting ten days. It was my husband’s birthday and we celebrated in Hawaii.

Peaceful Harmony: Sunset in Hawaii

Concurrently at our hotel, Jack Osbourne, the son of Ozzy and Harriett, I mean, Sharon, was getting married. I guess it was hush-hush so the Paparazzi were out in force. The beaches are public in Hawaii so these guys were free to lurk a few feet away from the hotel’s private property walkway. If you wanted to sit on the beach while on vacation, you had a guy dressed in safari gear waving a telephoto lense near your head. There were also confrontations between security and the Paparazzi.

Two Paparazzi On the Prowl

The security guys played a kind of keep away with them, trying to block them from photographing the Osbourne family at the pool. I’m telling you, it was hard to get in touch with your inner-mermaid under these conditions.

Photo Paparazzi Took of Kelly Osbourne

I must admit to a morbid curiosity. We’d heard rumors about the wedding and you just couldn’t help looking around. I don’t even care about the Osbournes, but it was fascinating to see them. One day after all the hoopla, I was taking my usual walk and up ahead saw what I thought was an older woman limping along with her grandkids in attendance. As I got closer, I saw it was a man with long hair who was all dressed in black. I should have gotten a clue then—how many people dress all in black at 8:15 in the morning in Hawaii, but I had to hear the man speak before I realized it was Ozzy. The fresh-faced teenager smiling from ear-to-ear at the man’s story? I didn’t realize until later that it was Kelly Osbourne. I’d only seen her with a sneer on her face, and didn’t realize how pretty and sweet she could look.

At the same time, forty Medal of Honor winners were being feted at the hotel. Being a writer, I am observant of what’s going on around me—a nice way of saying I’m nosy—and I had noticed this group of mostly older men and their families. One day they wore Hawaiian shirts of similar design. I had no idea they were Medal of Honor winners until I was in yoga class. Someone had sat in on a meeting when each man told his story of how he’d earned his medal. She was still overwhelmed by their bravery and modesty. “Each story brought tears to my eyes,” she said. I began watching these guys—really looking at them, trying to see in their faces what had made them able to act “above and beyond the call of duty”.

Medal of Honor winners in Hawaii, 2012

As an aside, you can imagine with all my looking, I don’t watch where I’m going. No wonder I stumble a lot!!

Not only do I look but my mind takes me elsewhere. Here, I thought, were men whose pictures should be in the news. TRUE HEROES. Their claim to fame was not behavior on a concert stage or on a reality television show, but lay in their ability to act in dire situations. How had our society’s priorities gotten topsy-turvy? We honor celebrities but we overlook the valiant among us.

It is something to think about.