My last post received comments. And emails. Thank you for each of them.
One reader simply said, “May you dance at Jack’s wedding.” I’ve thought a lot about this comment lately.
It was clearly a well-wish for Jack’s future, but let’s look at it from my perspective. If Jack marries at 30; I’ll be 88. Spry. And dancing.
Is this crazy?
Recently, Mick Jagger, at the age of 75, delayed the Rolling Stones tour while he recovered from heart surgery. Six weeks post-surgery, a video surfaced of him practicing his dance moves. He is as lithe as a greyhound, but he moves like a beast.
I could easily discount him as a freak of nature, a genetic anomaly, but I can’t discount how hard he’s working. Granted, Jagger makes millions to move like Jagger. Can I, a 61-year-old grandmother, reasonably expect to dance in his footsteps?
I have no idea, but I can try.
Every day I make a bunch of small and big decisions that will one day determine if I can walk–much less dance–when I’m 88: I can go to the gym or read a book. Walk to the market or take the bus. Eat oatmeal or a croissant.
Each of these decisions is theoretically impactful, but 88 is an amorphous concept. No matter how far I look into the future, I’m never 88. Of course, when I was 30, I never envisioned 61.
Yet here I am.
Age, it seems, is the most convenient of scapegoats. It effortlessly explains away our diminished capabilities: why we can’t bend down and tie our sneakers. Jog around the block. And yes, even dance.
Although we can’t fathom our own aging, the facts are: We will all grow old. We will all die. It’s so easy-breezy to add, and there’s nothing we can do about it.
I’m calling BS on that last part.
The concepts aren’t terribly complicated. I need to eat well, move more, work my muscles and retain some degree of flexibility. And I need to manage my weight.
In other words, I need to channel my inner Jagger.
I’ve written about this before. Pat and I have focused on healthy habits since I retired. It’s why we chose to live in cities, which we prefer for their walkability and abundance of fresh food markets and fitness studios.
I’m in better shape than I was ten years ago, but if I’m honest, I’m not in dancing-at-88 shape.
Too often I reach into my grab bag of not-today excuses for why I took an Uber, didn’t make it to the gym, grabbed a fast dinner out. It’s too _____ (Far. Hot. Late.) I’m too _____ (Tired. Hot. Crabby). It’s a state of woe-is-me-fullness, I’m-too-old-for-this.
This month, I’m doubling down.
I’ve challenged myself to replace the daily butter-sugar-flour _____ (croissant, donut, scone) with a bowl of oatmeal. I’m continuing my commitment to hit the gym three times a week and to walk 10,000 steps every day. And I’ve got my eyes on a cute little yoga studio not far from our Airbnb here in Philadelphia.
As for motivation, I’ve decided to make it simple. Do I want to dance at Jack’s wedding?
Wild horses couldn’t drag me away.