You can invest in excuses and reasons or you can invest in your options. Let's discuss.
Time waits for no man, the saying goes, and it ain't waiting for you or me. So you can, as many do, slide into your Barcalounger for the 82nd rerun of Game of Thrones, or you can slide on your sneakers for a walk around the block.
You could jog, too, taking barely fifteen minutes. Here's how that might pay off:
One choice leads to health. The other, well. You're looking at that body every day and you know precisely what I mean. You live in it.
Look, you can hear this as a harangue. It isn't. Like all discussions around health, it's an invitation. You do whatever works, but by the time the excuses pile up next to the fatty liver disease or osteoporosis or the bad back or the weak legs or whatever it is that has raised our blood pressure and shortened our life span, those excuses about being too old to do this get awfully weak.
Nobody is expecting you to become Arnold overnight. Incremental, small improvements pay off big over time, and they lead to better habits as we feel better.
I love to write about aging vibrantly, and constantly tag stories that catch my eye. The other day Medium writer Robert Roy Britt popped a challenge for readers to state what they will do for their birthday. As he is about to turn 60, he's going to shoot for a sixty-mile mountain bike ride in his state of Arizona.
Here's that story:
I responded, natch, because the year I turned sixty, for my January birthday I was in Costa Rica. I dove the local waters that morning and by noon I was riding a horse on the beach. By November, I had summitted Kilimanjaro, changed my life forever and never looked back. Since then I've been an adventure athlete.
My favorite birthday trick is to pop 12o men's pushups. No breaks, like a metronome. I don't break a sweat, either.
This year, due to two surgeries on my left shoulder, I couldn't do that. At the gym today, I was right back up to sixty. Gimme a week or two, we're back in business. At 69, for me to pop out 100 pushups every day or every other day is child's play. Lots of things I can't do but that's not one of them. You start with one. Then work up.
I am NO supergeezer. Just made some commitments I like to keep, because I am never ever too old for this shit.
What would you like to be able to do? And how is being too old for this keeping you from doing it? If I may:
Ageist is an online mag for aging folks, and while it prefers to highlight celebs, it recently did a story on a woman who transformed her body. She started, obese, ill, with poor health markers and horribly out of shape. What she did is tremendous:
Of course, she has LOTS of followers. I don't follow her because I'm too busy running my own life and fitness commitments. However stories like Joan's are worth sharing, because in my world plenty of folks are doing the same kind of thing. Patreon supporter Penny Nelson started a similar journey last year just before turning 73. She now writes, not without humor, that she has become one of those annoying people who says, with all sincerity, that she wishes she had started sooner. We all do, when we are late to the party.
But I love this line: she's going to finish strong.
While much is made of supergeezers who are out setting records such as this guy,
most of us would do very well indeed to simply lace up the damn shoes and walk the block rather than tuck into yet another slice of pie.
Research shows again and again that it really is never ever too late. So saying that whiskered movie line about being too old is just plain dumb. Unless you are immobile and utterly out of options, you can likely do something about your health. You can be in a wheelchair and still work out. Ask those paralympians how that works for them.
While this retired dentist finally did leave the planet, he really did indeed finish strong:
and lest you get annoyed with me for concentrating on White folks:
One of my commenters works with injured military folks who have lost multiple limbs. These people, my peeps, find a way to get back on their feet one way or another, and then engage in sports all across the board because they won't give up. She says it's incredibly humbling. You bet it is.
Here so many of us are with all our limbs and we complain, as one aging man did at a restaurant not long ago, that three steps were so very many.
Three steps. Guy was upright, perfectly mobile, could barely go up three steps, and was younger than I am. You see my point.
If you were EVER athletic, it comes back.
If you were NEVER athletic, you can build strength, endurance and body confidence. And while this article points out folks doing gym work, it really doesn't matter what you do. Pickle ball, hiking, rowing, cycling. It simply doesn't matter.
What matters is seeing each day as a possibility, and a chance to do something new. You can't even imagine what's available if you don't try. This isn't about breaking records, although you may well, like Eugster. The record you want to break is the endless recording of excuses, and we all have them, of tomorrow. Next year. I'll get around to it.
Until we are out of time.
I just got the invitation for my 50th high school reunion. This is what I looked like at the 45th:
I have about ten pounds on now that I didn't have then, and I am rebuilding my guns after surgery. But by the time August rolls around, as I am considering a trip to Florida to spend time with my friend Maggie the pilot and scuba diver (she's my real reason for going down there), my guns will be back. My reunion is in Florida, too. Is this about bragging rights?
Not so much. For there are a few folks, like Frank, above, who worked hard to stay in shape, and those folks are a lot of fun to reconnect with even if the food is terrible and the music falls into the garage band versions of "Louie Louie."
Lotta the rest of my class is "too old for that shit." The class president from 1971 regularly alerts us to the latest loss of someone who couldn't be bothered.
I don't plan to be on that list any time soon. I would prefer you not be for your school, either. The best way I know to Keep on Truckin (if you're my age, that's familiar) is to get off the couch and out the door.
You are never too old. That is life's gift to us. Never too old.
What do you want to do today? Go post a goal on Britt's story. Join the party. And let's play.