I have been very busy ending 2014 and beginning 2015 and thinking about what to write in this blog. Reflections of a year gone by, goals and plans and hopes for the new year are ever-present at this time, but by now, we are already off and running since the first full work week of 2015 has just gone by. So, instead of thinking about how one more year is over, I am going to focus on how many years are going by, and how aging is a game we all play. And, then, from this perspective, appreciate this new year.
I will be 65 this year I will be able to get Medicare. AARP keeps sending me info and I am now officially on the LIST as a senior citizen. My thoughts feel the same as ever, although my memory certainly is not as sharp. My body feels the same as ever, although my joints don’t move as well as they used to. My waistline has expanded, which infuriates me, but my legs have slimmed, so I guess it is just a trade-off of aging.
So, where does this lead me? Aging. During the holidays I visited my 93 year-old mother. She lives in a wonderful retirement village that she chose to move into 23 years ago and she says these have been the best years of her life. Every morning she swims for one hour. My brother, who lives near her, helps her do some walking and stair exercises and takes her out for a daily coffee. Her short-term memory is very sketchy, but her long-term is quite in tact. She is still the woman she has been, having earned an honorary doctorate from Yale University for her work with autism, among other very admirable accomplishments. But, she now uses a walker and she listens more than she talks. She still enjoys life.
My sister, who lives in Italy, has a mother-in-law who is 94 and still lives alone, cooks all her own meals and cleans her own house. But, she is more diminutive by the minute, more fragile, and has some health issues so her son helps her every week for days at a time. She is not very happy and is not enjoying her life so much lately. She misses her husband who died a few years ago and she is often amazed that she is still alive.
There are many levels of aging and I wonder what my path will be. Then, I stop to realize I am on my path NOW! To my grandchildren, I AM OLD! But, I still run with them, they come to my yoga classes (and I am about to start teaching a little class at my 5-year-old’s kindergarten!) and we play on the floor together.
The bottom line, really, is that as we age, we must continue to move, and to be joyful! Exercising, walking, doing stairs, yoga, biking, whatever keeps you moving and happy is what is important. As a yoga teacher, I try to encourage my students to be aware of their joints, their range-of-motion, their breath, and their tensions. When I was a much younger teacher, I used to think that just continuing with yoga was all I would need to do. Now, 40 years later, I am realizing that, while this is vitally important and of course a major part of my life, there are other aspects, such as genetics, environment, and how you enjoy your life that play a huge part in how we age. What yoga does give me, however, is the ability to observe my body, to provide focus for areas that need attention, and to offer tools that can help me improve those areas. And, as we age, this, to me, is becoming one of the most important gifts that yoga provides.
So, it’s always back to yoga. Keep moving, keep feeling joy and watching your breath; keep smiling and enjoying life. And keep doing your yoga! Happy 2015!!!
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.