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.
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.
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.
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.