Looking after things

A couple of years ago I wrote a number of posts on the year of being sixty two about the experience of getting older.  I was interested in the sense that our generation, in our sixties, is rather different from the women who have gone before us.  I don't remember my grandmother changing much from when I first remember her, when I think she was perhaps forty nine or fifty, to when she died at the age of seventy.  At fifty she was already a solid little barrel shape, encased in her corset which made her feel like a little hard barrel when she hugged me, which was often.  Her hair was already set in a tightly curled perm although I think at fifty she still had some of the red shade, which she handed onto my mother, which gently faded to white.

My mother by contrast was immensely youthful looking so that the pictures of her at her sixtieth birthday show someone looking about fifteen years younger.  She always said that she would age very suddenly when she got to seventy because she wanted to have a few years when could eat what she liked and stop bothering about what she looked like.  I thought she was joking but of course she wasn't.  True to her word she simply decided one day that she had got to the point where she was no longer going to colour her hair or watch her waistline and over the course of a year or so her real age gently caught up a bit with what she looked like although even when she died at eighty she looked nothing like the frail eighty year olds of the imagination.

My generation seems very divided in the way we approach getting older.  I have friends who embrace the grey and friends who colour their hair.  I have friends who are as fit as forty year olds and friends who spend a lot of time sitting down.  Each to their own.

Having had a week or so of not feeling too good a couple of weeks ago I am really enjoying the return to energy and enthusiasm of feeling well again.  I suppose it felt a little like looking at how life might be when I am older and not so fit and I so hated the sensation of having no energy for life that I am having one of my periodic attacks of really spending time looking after myself.   I am trying both to look after myself and to get fitter.  So that means adding to the weekly yoga and pilates classes lots of walking and even having a go at some gentle weights.  I want to be able to walk up hills and carry my grandchildren (well ok, not the twelve year and the nine year old.  They are on the way to being as tall as I am!).  I want to be able to touch my toes and stretch my way out of stiffness and inflexibility.  And I love that sense that comes with fitness of the body feeling strong and happy.


So up the hill we go.  Eat well, sleep well, time with friends and move, move, move.  For all of us this body is the only one we have and right now I am feeling very grateful for mine and all that it does for me.

Comments

  1. I believe that exercise and keeping going is most important. But as my mother said and I've come to a fuller realization of her statement "When your old, your old." I will just never forget her saying that.

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    1. Well you can't argue with that can you?! But there do seem to be a lot of different ways of being old. My mother kept her energy and her enthusiasm for life in a way which I hope to emulate. I think those two things are massively important in having a good time!

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  2. Sometimes your list seems simple and obvious.
    Then there are days when it is all impossible.

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    1. You are so right. Sometimes it hardly seems worth saying. Other times I really need to see it in black and white and remind myself that it is necessary to take every chance to move, move, move!

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  3. Your last 3 posts have a real resonance for me - especially this one. I am so glad you are feeling fit and well again. I have had 2 bouts this year of a similar malaise - no energy, lethargic and generally feeling unwell. They each lasted about 2 weeks and I assume were viral. I turned 70 this year and want to remain healthy and keep my energy and strength - I so enjoy this new rural life, my large garden and my family and grandchildren. Like you I hated that sensation of no energy or strength. So much to do, so much to learn.......

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    1. I was amazed how glum it made me to feel that I had lost my energy. I think of myself as a very positive, cheerful person whose glass is always nearly full! It was a bit of a shock to be knocked sideways emotionally as well as physically so all the more reason to care for the physical self!

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  4. you speak the truth. I am very sedentary and it is catching up with me and making my arthritis worse. For the last couple of weeks I have been trying to do more to stay on my feet and a lot less sitting. I am doing things like standing to do the dishes rather than quickly loading the dishwasher just to sit down again. I am going to start riding my exercise bike again as well -- anything to keep moving because that old saying "move it or lose it" isn't just a saying!

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    1. I hope the moving is going well! So easy to gradually become sedentary and I admire your resolution to change that. Good luck.

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