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Growing Older and Standing up Straight


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Have you seen the new MORE magazine cover? It shows Jane Fonda, Sharon Stone, and Tea Leoni. It's sobering to realize that Stone and Leoni are in their 50s and 40s, respectively, as they both look great and defy what you'd assume a woman in or approaching middle age should look like. (I'm almost 45, older than Leoni, so I can say that!) Of course, they have money, time, and trainers, and I don't begrudge them any of those -- maybe their beauty will help the entertainment industry continue adding more sensual and interesting female characters that I can relate to in television and movies.

As for Jane Fonda, I showed the magazine cover to my son and asked how old she is. "Fifty?" he asked. She's 70. THAT'S what I want to look like when I'm 70.

And it's not all vanity. Remember in the 80s, when Cher was one of those celebrities producing workout videos? At that time, she said something like the following: I see women in their 80s all hunched over and shuffling, and I don't want to be like that -- I want to do what I can NOW so that I increase, as much as possible, my chances that I'll be walking straight in my 70s, 80s, and 90s. People on my mother's side of the family live well into their 90s; I'd like to make the best of it and be able to take daily walks, like my 90-something-year-old Tante Elisabeth still can.

Still on the subjects of MORE magazine and standing up straight, but not on the exact same subject -- I was reading MORE in a doctor's waiting room yesterday and came across this article about physical psychotherapy. It was intriguing enough that I'd like to pick up a copy of the magazine, or at least read more about this. As I understand it from my limited exposure, that branch of psychotherapy focuses in on physical manifestations of our emotional responses to stimuli. In the article, a woman was being interviewed about a relationship that was very draining on her emotionally, and as she spoke, her shoulders curled in, and she began to hunch over. A posture that, instinctively, is meant to protect our most vulnerable parts (think, also, of a dog putting his tail between his legs -- it's instinct to protect yourself, even when you don't always need to.) Perhaps the physical movements were imperceptible to others, but they were obvious to the professional, and I know the feeling -- my ex-husband and, sometimes, the person I talked about in my previous blog have this effect on me.

In the article, the woman was told to sit up tall and straighten her shoulders, a stronger posture. And although the stronger posture made her more physically vulnerable in some ways (she was no longer protecting herself), it gave her the strength to protect herself emotionally and hold off the enemy, so to speak.

I need to do that. And I suspect others on this site need to do that, also, so that's why I'm sharing. We need to stand up straight and then make sure we can continue to do so for the rest of our lives.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post:
APRILMAY1956 12/1/2008 11:40PM

    Laura - That was a very interesting article you read about women's posture. I'm one of those people that draws their shoulders in, I think of it from time to time and straighten up. Any exercises that you could suggest to correct this problem? Your thoughts on the matter are very insightful. -Leyla

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AFTER49 11/9/2008 9:46PM

    Laura,

It is funny I just read your blog. This weekend my hubby and I went to visit daughter#1 at college. She was a painful teenager, red headed band geek, awkward, paste eating science nerd and kinda chubby. We loved her but the all the tears in the world could not make this child fit in. Her posture was horrible.

She is now a Senior and we watched her be the featured trumpet soloist during a half time performance. She has lost 25 to 30 pounds. She stands tall now and smiles constantly. She will graduate next spring with a bio-medical major and a chem. minor. Eight med. schools are holding her application and she is flying high. I could not be any more proud. Look at her on my web page her transformation is amazing. Mean spirited teenage girls and various bullies caused this and I really feel she got to college and found other people so much like her she fit in and didn't have to eat to feel good.

Oh Jane Fonda does look great, two words - air brushing 70 years old seriously!?! Keep writing - I love reading.

Denise

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BARB0927 11/9/2008 8:23PM

    I commented but ended up sending it to your spark mail--to personal for public views!!
CONGRATS!!!!! Keep the faith and you looked great on Saturday!!

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VISITORX 11/9/2008 11:03AM

    Hi Laura,
Very interesting blog. I agree, I don't want to be a hunched over little old lady either. Definite food for thought.

Thanks for posting this.

Audrey

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BABSDOTTER 11/8/2008 6:07PM

    I remember looking at a picture of Catherine Deneuve (I'm probably butchering the spelling of her name) when she was in her 50s and seeing how beautiful she was....but you know what? You have to look a certain way at 20 to look a certain way at 50. I was never going to have her high cheekbones or long legs. That's when I realized how beautiful 'healthy' can look. I think people who are healthy, eat right, exercise, have good complexion care....they tend to look younger than their years...

As to the standing up straight part...thanks for sharing that.....I think that is something I, for one, need to practice. thanks for sharing that emoticon

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