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“Cattle prod” is a new nickname for me but in this case I welcome it.

Penny Nelson has been commenting on my stuff long enough for me to know that my world is in order when I see her name. As I sit at my desk just before hitting the sack in Arusha, Tanzania, I began reading her comment and thought,

“Uh-oh, here it comes.”

I was wrong, happily, and by the end I fell off my chair laughing delightedly. There is no carpet on the concrete in this house. It hurt. Worth it.

I got her permission. You’re gonna love this. I sure did. This was in response to a recent article I did on, of course, aging well. I guess Penny had had it. Good for her:

I have been reading your work for some time now. You can’t miss the push to get in better shape, to get moving, to think about what your body needs. It comes through everything you write. From the beginning I knew I should get more active. I do not live a sedentary life. I have acreage and livestock. I walk and swim. But am I in good shape? Nope.

I got tired of you nagging in my ear. I finally jumped in. I joined a gym. That is the first time in my nearly 73 years. And I hired a personal trainer. No telling what damage I could have done with all those wild machines and no training. She is wonderful. We laugh and she pushes me. And then we laugh some more.

This coming week is week #4 of my training. I hate sweating but this always seems like great sweat. I already feel stronger and somehow lighter although not by the scales. Moving already seems easier and harder but worth every bit of the energy spent.

Thank you, Julia, for being the cattle prod I needed.

Okay, ouch. I asked if I could steal. Then she said SURE, this way:

Of course you can use what I wrote! And I will let you know how it goes. I assumed I would get up each gym day grudgingly and trudge off to do my penance for taking lousy care of my body all these years. Who knew I would love it? My standard appointment, at least so far, is 8 am. On those morning I am up at 6 without need of an alarm clock. I jump up, get into my gym gear, get the animals fed and rush off to the gym. I’m currently getting there before Stephanie is ready for me so I’m pretty much finished with my warm-ups by the time she finishes her own workout. It’s been wonderful. At the beginning, I told Stephanie I would love to drop 80 pounds but really I just want to be able to move better, to lift feed sacks more capably and get about the things I need to do without worrying about falling. She pointed out that weight is lost in the kitchen not in the gym but she could help me with the rest. And that’s what we’re working on. (Author bolded.)

THIS is what it looks like when it’s working.

Make a commitment. Find professional assistance. Make it fun. Laugh a lot. Watch what happens to Just. About. Everything.

Especially how much more fun life gets when your body starts saying HI There, we’ve been waiting for you to ask us to come out and play. Your muscles, that is. Like I told Penny.

This not about me. This is about Penny. At 73 she started. That really is all it takes. Start. Please. Just start somewhere. You might be very surprised at what you find out about about you, about life, about your options.

You might just discover that it’s going to be wonderful.

Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash