The seventies are different from the sixties. Stiffer, slower movements in my body and brain. Words fly by avoiding recognition. Synapses disregard memories.
Seventy-two years old? How did I get here? My grown-up kids would say I never acted my age.
I cling to other people’s surprise when they discover how old I am.
If someone tells me “You don’t look it!” my day brightens.
Yet, being fifteen pounds overweight bewilders me.
“Oh, if only I could lose ten pounds,” I used to say. Not anymore. I’m healthy. I don’t overeat. If I eat a cookie I gain a pound. My stomach sticks out despite three weekly Pilates classes. Estrogen, long gone.
So I’ve made a few decisions.
Decision One: I’m not going to Weight Watchers or going on a diet. I’m not avoiding a chocolate chip cookie following dinner at Rocco’s. Hell, we walk home. Shouldn’t that count for something?
Decision Two: I’m front-loading travel during the next few years. Isn’t it clear that I won’t want to take twenty-hour flights around the world when my legs stiffen up more?
Decision Three: I’ll travel to Southern France, Tuscany, San Miguel Allende, and Mount Desert Island, Maine, in 2019 — in addition to Minneapolis and Chapel Hill. Perhaps I’ll drive home from Thanksgiving with Dan, stopping in hip Greenville and at the new Legacy Museum in Montgomery, seeing artsy Marfa, meandering to Big Bend National Park.
Realization: I was a kid in my sixties scurrying over rocks in Sabino Canyon or on Mt. Desert Island. My body didn’t harbor aches and pains. Like clockwork they arrived at age seventy: arthritis in my right thumb, precipitating my first physical therapy sessions; the need to stretch my feet before getting out of bed so I wouldn’t hobble to the bathroom; three cancer scares (breast, leg, jaw), which luckily all turned out benign. PHEW.
It’s a good sign that I find learning thrilling. Watching my two book group friends jazzing it up last night at Hacienda del Sol reminded me how I’m itching to dance more.
I’m not done. Contentment drops by often. No rushing around, less stress about work and kids, no guilt consuming two pieces of dark chocolate every morning.