Nothing's Free After Sixty

ae

I was on the cover of a national magazine, eldr, in spring, 2008.  (This excellent magazine has since stopped publication.)  I am sitting back in the arms of an attractive man, and only a careful look reveals that I am wearing any clothes at all.  The website, eldr.com, uses not only the cover photo, but photos from the inside spread as well, all showing me in my underwear. 

It tickles the heck out of me (and my husband) to see my cover girl debut at 66.

The shape I was in, and still am in, which makes such photographs possible, did not just happen.  After, say, 60, nothing is free:  not your blood pressure, or your healthy heart, or your weight, or your muscle tone, or your overall attractiveness. 

For the six months or so surrounding my recent marriage, I gave up on the adrenalin of the chase and just enjoyed myself.  I had found what I was looking for.  Doing warm-up exercises every morning was too much trouble, and desserts were too delicious to pass over.  Guess what happened…  I didn’t gain so much weight, but I began to get frumpy.  My clothes didn’t quite fit me anymore, and there were bulges and lumps where I didn’t want them.

Being fit is a decision over 60; maybe it always is, but it definitely is over 60. Now I swim a few times a week, do yoga several times a week, and take 45 minute walks often. Some days I slack off. I stopped eating so many desserts and make a point of not finishing most of my restaurant meals. (This has the added advantage of providing the next night’s dinner.)   

What would you do if you got diabetes – your life would be forever inhibited by your insulin needs.  If you had a stroke – everything you did would be just a bit more difficult. If you wanted to continue doing things at all, you’d have to suck it up and try.  My “disease” is aging, and it will never go away. I have to suck it up and MOVE.

This life style is not all bad — I get the same rush out of energetic exercise that a 30-year-old athlete gets.  The difference is that if the 30-year-old gives up running, she will still look good and move well.  After 60, nothing is free.

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