A lot of people are, you know. Conflicted. About lots of things but in particular I’m talking about the big 5-0 lurking around the corner. You see, part of me wants to walk right up to 50 and stick out my tongue, say “I’m not afraid of you!” or something like that, and sail gracefully and serenely into my 50s with the absolute conviction that these will be the best years of my life. But the other part is a little bit…uncertain.
It’s a pretty big milestone in most peoples’ lives. As I approach 50, I still have teenagers at home – one full-time and one part-time, since he’s in college. I’m helping my father who is dealing with serious illness. My mom has had one ailment after another, from breast cancer to a bad hip to cataract surgery, weight problems, high blood pressure… (They’re divorced. She’s on her third husband.)
I have a fear of declining physically. When my mom was in her early 60s – not that much older than I am – she really couldn’t get off the floor or out of a low chair without help or something to pull herself up with. She wasn’t able to really enjoy playing with her grandchildren when they were small because of it. I may not have grandchildren, well…ever, but if I do it won’t be for a long time. I want to be able to enjoy them the way I did my own kids!
These are the things that inspire me to try to take the best possible care of my body. Eat well, be fit, get all of my screenings (I’m a little bit behind on those) and keep my stress levels down. Not sure how much that helps really, but it makes daily life more pleasant, and that’s really all we have anyway. I realize that I can’t stop time,
but I feel like maybe I can slow down what lately seems
to be inevitable decline. While much of that has recently been attributed to poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle, attitude and perception play a part as well. This article in theNew York Times covers a lot of ground on the impact of both activity and attitude on aging.
Then there’s vanity. Yep, I am going to admit to that part too. I won’t pretend that it’s all about great health and serene acceptance. I’ve tried to downplay the part that vanity plays in all of this but recently decided that rather than feel guilty about it, I’m going to embrace it. It is, after all, a motivator! I want to keep my figure. I want to look nice, wear my hair long, and look at least a little bit like I feel inside for as long as I can.
So, health, fitness, beauty (or at least an effort at it) and a positive attitude. It’s not much – I can handle that! Come to think of it, I’d better wind this up – it’s time to go to the gym. I’m working out with my 15 year old tonight!