We've all seen those ads, or those features in magazines, right? If it is for an advertisement, it is often for something touted as "anti-aging". Not to be difficult, but wouldn't the true defiition of "anti-aging" be DEAD? Seriously, nothing actually reverses aging and the only thing that stops it is DEATH. No, thanks. I am actually very much "pro-aging" since it gives me more years to enjoy life. Anyway, you know what I mean - some amazingly fit-looking, unlined person without a strand of gray hair, and the caption says "this is what 48 looks like" or "this is what 55 looks like". Maybe for them, maybe with their genetics, and their bone structure and body type, and their lifestyle, with some added help from a stylist and make-up artist, hairdresser, surgeon?, and basically a small army of people to make sure that they do not look in any way, shape, or form what most of us perceive that particular age would actually look like. But, what if we adapt that slogan? I am approaching 53 years old and, trust me, my idea of what a woman in her 50's looked like when I was a woman in, say, my 20's, was not a flattering list. "old, sexless, done" are a few of the harsher adjectives that come to mind when I think of what my arrogant, short-sighted attitude was when 53 was so far away I could not even imagine it becoming reality. Time brings humility, and wisdom, if we are paying attention. So, now, with 53 looming, my idea of what it looks like isn't so much to do with what it looks like in the mirror, or photographs, or to other people (especially much younger people). Now when I think about what it looks like, I am focusing more on what it looks like in heart-pumping, living, breathing reality. What does YOUR next age look like? Maybe 60 looks like being able to hike to the top of what seems like a daunting hill. Maybe 23 looks like letting go of spending time with people who don't treat you the way you deserve to be treated, teaching people you require proper respect and care. Maybe 40 looks like not thinking or talking about completing a marathon, it looks like training and committing and sweating your way through 26.2 miles and many doubts and fears. Maybe 36 looks like setting down cigarettes and taking up strength training. Maybe we start now to invest in what our 70's and 80's and beyond will look like. We do those side planks now so that broken hips are less likely. We walk daily, briskly, and with a purpose now so that we can up our chances of walking that way until the very end. Today, after doing a group strength training called "Power Hour" at the small gym that I go to, I helped put stuff away and as people were making their way to the door, I began doing my push-ups. I have renewed my goal of doing a push-up for each year of my age, on every birthday. The rule is I have to do them within two minutes, taking a few seconds to rest as needed, and I have to do them with good form, on my toes
(hence, the few seconds of rest here and there). When I was in my mid forties I could not do one. Not one. Today, as I began doing the push-ups I heard someone yell my name and pretty soon, about 5 guys were cheering me on. I did 26 but then I stopped to take a few seconds because my form was getting weak. Because, even though it would have made a good story for them to have cheered me through all 53, I know what I need and I needed to stop and rest and then resume. After I was done, a few of the guys who had been cheering began doing push-ups which is not an easy feat after lifting weights for most of an hour and they lift a lot heavier than I do, believe me. I told them about my birthday project and they said they were going to adopt it, as well, including the rest periods. Anyway, my point is, I have gotten stronger as I have gotten older. I don't know what my future holds, but I hope it is a long future and that by doing certain things now, I have made a good investment in a stronger future. So, what does your age look like and what will your next birthday look like?