Ok, so I’m 57 and 60 is three years away. Still, I am closer to 60 than I am to 50, and for me this is a time of reckoning. With my son, Brian, as my fitness trainer, I have undertaken an endeavor that I have actively avoided for the last 15 years or so. I am going to get healthy and more fit.
You see, once upon a time, I was noteworthy for my energy and enthusiasm–regardless of my weight, by the way. I was overweight but still ran up and down the sidewalk–yes, I do mean ran, I have witnesses–pulling the children in their wagon. I could handle two or three at once depending on how big they were and whether or not they would fit. I loved it, they loved it, and we had a great time. I had a toddler seat on the back of my bike and rode up to the store with Kevin on the back. On vacation we would rent bikes and ride to the beach. I loved to garden and expended serious effort turning Georgia clay into beds that would grow an English garden’s worth of flowers. Anybody who has tried to spade through the clay and mix it by hand with sand, humus and soil will be happy to sing you the song “16 Tons.”
As my birthday drew close in May, I began to wrestle with the concept of getting closer to 60. In your 50’s if you die suddenly, it’s tragic. In your 60’s if you die suddenly people say that you had a long and happy/useful life. Hmm. Well, there’s not a whole lot I can do about that; I mean time marches on whether you are ready or not.
I’ve had some problems with my mom this summer. She has fought the brave fight for many years, but her body is just giving out. It’s a miracle really; there have been so many times that she was so ill they told us she would never recover, but she did. Against all odds she has lived into her 80’s, but now we are seeing significant signs of decline. Anyway, our interactions with and efforts for her this summer have caused me to evaluate the way I want to spend these next years of my life. I’ve decided to get in the best shape I can so that I can enjoy all this great time that Steve and I are going to have now that we have time to focus on each other and doing things together.
Those who have known me a long time have reason to be skeptical. When I was 7 years old, kids threw rocks at me at the bus stop because I was fat. This is not a new state of affairs in my life. At this point, however, I am way beyond caring about the numbers on the scale. What I care about it having lots of energy; increasing my stamina and flexibility; and living life with enthusiasm and joy. Steve and I have big plans now that we are closer to retirement, most of which include travel. When we were in Italy we hiked up the Dolomites with a tour guide who was sure this fat American was going to stroke out or have a heart attack before we reached the top, but I surprised him and made it. Nonetheless, I would love to go back and do it again with him when I am in better shape, and he can be impressed with my stamina. Hey, a girl can dream!
So here is what I have so far…Brian has suggested 1800 calories a day, eating whatever I want with those calories, but of course healthier is better. After 1 month I have lost 12 pounds, but more important than the eating, I think, is the walking. On May 29th, the last day of school, I started walking in the neighborhood. My first outing was 30 minutes and 1.14 miles, walking, of course, about 2 mph. Now, on July 18, about 6 weeks later, I am walking 50 minutes and 2.5 miles at about 3 mph. Daily. Yes, that is right, I am going every day, with very occasional misses because of the curves life throws. I have to say, after years of avoiding the exercise because “I didn’t have time,” I am flat loving it. I really look forward to my walks every day, and have come to consider them a wonderful diversion.
This blog is about my interests and obsessions, and my current obsession is fitness. Expect more to come…