Recognize me? I’m the one in the middle.

by Bella Rum

“You should set goals beyond your reach so you always have something to live for.” ~ Ted Turner

I started a yoga class yesterday. This is a first for me. I’ve saved up a bagful of ‘firsts’ as not to be in danger of running out in this fourth quarter. The saddest thing in the world is someone who reaches all their goals before they die. We need to keep the wheels spinning till we run out of gas.

Listen to how pumped I am after only one class. It was fun, guys.

I do aerobics four or five times a week with Leslie Sansone, and lift light weights, but a friend (of 40 years) decided we should try yoga, and she signed us up. She found a (50 and over) beginner class offered through the county, and it’s only 10 minutes from my house.

I can not tell you how many times she’s dragged me kicking and screaming into things like this. I’m not a joiner. I would never do it on my own, but I almost always enjoy it after I’m there. This was no different. It was great fun. Now you know where I’ll be at 10 o’clock every Thursday morning, and H will be on the golf course. Aren’t we just the cutest retired couple you know? At the beginning and again at the end of the hour, I thought it a little odd that the instructor warned us against being competitive with one another. She said that yoga is not about competition, but more about improving one’s own abilities. I mean, as a demographic, old ladies are about the least competitive group on Earth. Sure, tell one of them that your grandchild is smarter and more beautiful than their grandchild, and I suppose a fist fight could break out and someone could get pummeled to the ground, but baring any stupidity like that, I think we can all agree to get along.

There was one woman in the class who appeared about 15 years older than us. The instructor advised us “new comers” not to be concerned if we couldn’t do some of the things that Ruth could do, “After all, she’s been taking the class for 8 years.” Hody, ho! Ruth looked real good, folks. Not like a young thing, but like a woman who had given her body and mind due respect. Ruth has spent a lifetime of taking responsibility for her health, and it was obvious in every way.

I’ve observed – barring disease or other obvious or not so obvious reasons for poor health:

When we’re young – in our twenties – it doesn’t matter how much we abuse our bodies, little if  any spoilage is noticeable. Stay out all night, drink, carouse, eat all the wrong foods, show up for work on two hours of sleep, and we look a little tired but still cute. We still look pretty darned good in our 30s and even real cute when we want to, but some of us begin to sport a few extra pounds from the over eating – which are easily lost if we choose to climb back up on that wagon. Then the 40s make their appearance. We can still whip it into shape when we decide to, though it’s a little more challenging, and if we don’t do it quickly, our sins begin to accumulate and become difficult to hide. Still, we can look darned good with makeup and the right clothes, but by the end of the fourth decade, if we haven’t behaved ourselves, the ravages of time and self-abuse begin to show, and by the end of our fifties, all hell breaks loose if we haven’t made the right choices. The end of that fifth decade and the beginning of the sixth decade separates the wheat from the chaff; the difference between those who did and did not make the right choices becomes blazingly apparent. It’s no longer about the face and body we were given at birth, but more about the face and body we did or did not take care of. As advice goes, this is right up there with take care of your teeth. Don’t wait to respect your body!

Of course, it’s also the piece of advice most ignored. I know I wish I’d taken it to heart sooner than I did.

And then there are those who get it all lifted, and tucked and sucked, but I’m not going there.