28 March 2010

Forty something and truly blessed!

"One of the best ways to realize that age is an illusion is to have your body get older and realize that you are who you always have been." ~ Alan Cohen 

I found this quote after I decided to write this blog today and I thought it was rather fitting and could be interpreted in different ways.  I remember a few years ago having a conversation with another woman/mother who was also approaching 40 as myself at the time, and the words out of her mouth astonished me.  We were talking about much the same things that women often talk about, our bodies, clothes, food, and I will never forget when she said, "Now that I am almost 40, I realize that I will be getting older, more conservative and unable to do certain things...." I sat there a bit confused about why she was planning her own demise with such language. 

I just could not relate to such thoughts because at that time (and still) I could not begin to comprehend how you can combine a number, in this case 40, with rules about how you may inevitably feel given that number and thus how you should live based on this predicted downward spiral that your life will take.  What?!!!

Back to my quote, I realized that I had one way of interpreting "it" and "life" and other people/women perhaps their way as well which is why I believe many of us either flow easily through and others of us struggle.   Let's first consider the woman who thinks approaching 40 is the crossroads to middle age and old age with restrictions thereafter, a quote like this could mean that her body will age but she will still be who she was all along into her senior years.   A limited way of thinking, which seems to explain what I suspect. 

When I read this quote just a few minutes ago for the first time, I quickly had a totally different interpretation to the point that I felt exhilarated that it landed right in my lap as it was amazingly suitable for my pre-planned blog today!  Age is an illusion to me because there are many days that I forget how old I am but thanks to my darling children, they often remind me and/or tell other people.  That in itself is often very cute because it could be at a time when someone is saying something like, "you young mothers..." and my son quickly chimes in, "my mom is not young, she is 45 years old!"   Oh I love him so! 

Remember that woman who was ready to retire her high heels?  She does not believe that age is an illusion and perhaps it is because of the media, or the nonsense she was taught growing up.  Today we are being told that 40 is the new 20 or something like that, but many still don't believe that and I would venture to guess it is because they are not doing something great for themselves to make it so. 

I wrote a blog over a year ago about how many of us walk around mumbling those three special little words, "I used to..." referring to the fun-filled, energetic, exciting things they used to do but don't do anymore because they are of a certain age.  For many it is because their minds and bodies are not capable, and that is because they allowed themselves to deteriorate, physically, emotionally, mentally and perhaps spiritually too.

The latter part of this quote says, "to have your body get older and realize that you are who you always have been" to me speaks about how your mindset was all along.  If you always had a mindset that your life was going to be a time-line resembling that of a mountain, one you climb and then get to the top and just turn around and go back down, then you always planned to limit yourself and play into the hands of an old-fashioned idea of living a normal and full life. 

There are believers and then there are "true" believers.  I am a true believer.  I believe that God gave me a healthy body and mind and expects me to work with it to the fullest.  I don't believe there are any cut-off points, any boundaries, age restrictions, time limits, etc. but, that there are endless possibilities.  First and foremost, it's important to not get wrapped up in primitive ideas about age and what "society" expects of you, and realize you should have expectations of yourself and strive to achieve them. 

I sometimes run into old friends, school mates, former co-workers and we get into conversations about what we are doing, and I always get asked, "are you still working out or running?"  My answer is always, "of course!"  It seems strange to me, am I supposed to stop ?  Because of my age?  If so, why?? 

This morning after my amazing 90 minutes on the treadmill wearing 10 lbs in my X-vest, followed by a very intense, funky 50 minutes doing Punch Kick Jam (Turbo Jam), I was giggling to myself saying, "wow, who would not love to be doing this at age 45, age 55, age 65?"  Only someone who is crazy enough to believe that being 45 or older is a reason to stop loving life, feeling energetic, happy, empowered and truly thankful for great health!  

Thank you God!  Thank you for allowing me to be who I am, who I have always been, which is a person who does not feel that I should do anything but embrace living with the same intensity from one decade to the next! 

I will happily encourage anyone out there who dreads approaching 40 to reprogram your beliefs.  Turning 40 is not the end of the road, it is actually a new beginning!  Time to realize that you are smarter than you ever were and now is the time to truly START living your life.   Time to do all the things you thought you could not do and understand that your mind AND body are more powerful than you could ever imagine.  You can exercise and eat healthy everyday, you can dance, you can laugh, you can dress younger than you are, you can do whatever you used to do -- as long as you respect yourself and others.... sky's the limit!

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