Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The best body you'll ever have

My desk - this is not a collage, yet
I follow a hilarious blogger named Karen who today told us of her adventures with a new exercise program, all in search of The Best Body You'll Ever Have. This is the way you get when you turn forty.

Well, this inspired me to comment on her blog, but my comment magically disappeared, due to the fact that I do not have the best mind I've ever had, for I am an unbelievable 29 years older than Karen, though no wiser, and am, in fact, old enough to be her grandmother.  Possibly.

And here's what I had to say:  at this moment you have a body that works.  And, I know how you feel.  I remember this moment well, standing in front of a mirror in the dark little half-bath in my apartment, seeing that I could no longer feel terrific in these expensive blush-pink pants I had, that went with a beautiful print shirt.  I was not a vision of spring but a middle-aged woman in need of a new fashion statement.

Things had happened to my parts while I wasn't paying attention.  Though I weighed almost what I had in high school, it had redistributed itself here and there.  My shoulders were still perfect, they're the last thing to go.  That was about it, in terms of the visuals. In terms of anything that counted, I had a great body.

When I turned forty, my heart had never gone into fibrillation.  My thyroid worked fine without lumps or assistance. I had never broken a bone or torn a rotator cuff. My hearing was perfect, my kidneys worked - and not for a moment did I consider this a miracle of perfect health.  I considered instead those sort of lumps on the outside of my thighs, which have always spent most of their time in a chair.  I considered breasts that did not tempt me to go braless ever again.  I saw that my stomach was rounder.  And under my chin . . .

Not a one of these revisions to my body affected the way it worked or the way I lived.  I could sleep at night, did I mention that?  I could easily get up off the floor anytime I wanted. I could walk three miles every morning, which I did, grimly, trying to be young again.  What was I thinking?

I don't blame myself.  After all, I was thinking like my mother before me, like everything I'd learned growing up, and saw in the culture. My not-so-perfect mind was stuffed full of concepts about my worth and identity that had nothing to do with reality, and less to do with happiness. This stuff is hard to crack, but if you get to live long enough, you start to get it - reality, I mean.

As for today's body---it still works, just more slowly.  It can walk unaided.  It can drive, eat, talk, type.  Sometimes it frustrates me, but I try to be nice to it---it's the best body I'll ever have.


  1. Ahhh, but of course you know that the body you had in the past is totally gone, nothing of yesterday's body is present now.

  2. thanks for the kind words, Jeanne! That was a very interesting post spawned by my ridiculous need to be more fit. Yeah, I hear you: we never appreciate what we have when we have it, do we? For me, it is at least in part a desperate clinging to my own vanity-filled notions, but mostly my goal is to be stronger, stronger so I can be here forever. I have a monstrous fear of death, after all.

    Besides...the body I used to have is oh so gone too! I appreciate myself much more now though.

    1. Wrote such a thoughtful reply to this and with one accidental stroke (I guess) lost it. Well, it ended with "the monkeys are chasing me up the mountain." :) That makes as much sense as anything.

  3. is that in any way similar to pushing the endless boulder up the mountain?