Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Fountain of Youth

I wasn't going to miss the chance to swim in the Amazon.
Or delight in the company of teenagers
Or miss the diversity of culture,
Or be part of something bigger than myself (which is everything).

What does it take to continually live an enriched life? Especially when doubts about age, vigor and the ability to contribute are starting to creep in.  How do I keep from scaring myself into inactivity, and if I do, dealing with the consequences of old age?

The answer might be: scaring myself. To stop pushing myself, to reduce exercising, to not keep challenging myself by the mere company I keep--is a very scary thought.

Last night, I made the mistake of saying in Tony's company, that I felt old. It was the first day back to school after two month's break and it was a looooooong day. The lesson plan was just meh...the students were tired too.

Last winter, after skiing with older friends who never would have considered themselves old, I forbade Tony and myself from making old references, or complaining about getting old. So when I complained about feeling old, Tony put me in my place with a study about eighty year olds who were challenged to start thinking of themselves as seventy year olds. By just thinking they were younger, they became younger! Not in years, of course, but in actions, thoughts, and energy output.

At 6:19 a.m. this morning, trying to figure out a better lesson plan that won't leave me feeling meh...trying to feel awake and invigorated after a poor night's sleep, I'm trying, trying, not to feel, believe, or even entertain the possibility of oldness, and I do know the cure.

Since coming back from Ecuador, except for a short game of pickleball and shoveling the snow, I haven't exercised. My preference is outside and it's been too cold, too snowy. But I know what I have to do...a doctor once told me that people are always in search of the next fountain of youth--something miraculous, something complicated or facile, but the fountain of youth has always been and will always be, simply~~ exercise.