I’m old enough to have a conversation that goes like this: “Happy Birthday. Should I not ask how old you are?” Umm, that’s the sign: that someone wouldn’t guess.
I’m more than 40. But since I’m not remembering the exact number anymore (my kids tell me that I’ve told others an older age than I am–I’ve actually forgotten), so what do the specifics matter?
Though my age is reflected in my external appearance, my spirit feels younger, freer, happier than when I was fourteen, twenty, or thirty.
I have integrated a few things into daily life that have helped make my life the younger, freer, happier way it is right now.
Also known as strengthening stretching. For the cynics out there, no need to be afraid of this exercise practice. If 40 has taught me anything, it is that this body is not remaining static. I am getting achy. The older I get, the more frequently we change our mattress. This is not a sign that mattress construction is declining. My stretching routine, aka yoga, keeps this thing agile (pointing to my back).
No reason to be afraid to meditate. It’s really just quieting our minds. Getting our minds to slow is much like choosing to go on vacation temporarily. In your room. To focus on not focusing actually focuses our body to move into a quieter mode.
You might want to call this prayer. But I don’t mean talking to the Creator. I mean not talking at all. Not sharing our worries or our petitions. Just letting the thoughts, the words, the constant mental chatter slow.
Advil for the aches and pains unresolved by a good night’s sleep and yoga.
The medical world isn’t out to get us with their western ways. They have children that get hurt on the playground, have aches and pains after fourteen hour shifts in emerg, and get terminal illnesses and car accidents too. They’re neither convinced that the medical system can save us, nor western (or eastern) remedies will perfect our lives, but they try to improve our daily experiences, just like we do. So I take the Advil when I need it.
I have a resistance to our culture’s ‘perfect body syndrome’. I have learned that exercise for pride and vanity is an unhappy-making, shame-inducing combination.
Still, there will be no circumstance where I tell myself not to exercise. Exercise doesn’t have to be about mastering aesthetic perfection. Exercise is what our bodies were meant to do. When we don’t do it, we get sore, bored, lazy, and less happy.
My ideals are exercise in the outdoors: hiking, biking, canoeing, walking, yoga, paddleboarding, snowshoeing, cross country skiing. And in the worst weather, the elliptical, a video, dancing with the kids or running stairs.
Is there a perfect routine? Yes. The one that I enjoy the most.
Experiment with variety.
Adolescence doesn’t have to be the only time in life we discover who we are and what we’re about. We have our entire lives given to discover us.
How will we know we don’t like something if we never try?
Having said that, my twelve year old asked if I would sky dive with her on her eighteenth birthday. Naturally, I told her emphatically: not gonna happen. RIP twainausten February 10, 2021. I know my limitations; I will surely mess that one up.
I’m not experimenting things that test my adrenals, but I am looking to live the life that is most engaging, with new experiences, new activities, new foods, and new people.
Building authentic connections with others, by being authentic.
We were made for real connection. When we share who we really are, and sit with the truth of other’s real experiences, we gain as much as we give.
We play a meaningful role in other’s lives and we build communal connections. And we build our own community, an authentic community.
No matter my actual age, I have learned I will always be 25.
I set my life to believing what I did at 25: life will never end, I will always have a place in it, my body will always function as I like, happiness is always an option, others can make me happy, and I have much to look forward to.