“You have to truly grasp that everybody ages. Everybody dies. There is no turning back the clock. So the question in life becomes: What are you going to do while you’re here?” – Goldie Hawn
My family ran our annual Turkey Trot 5K race on Thanksgiving morning. Although I did not have a spectacular time (39:03), I placed 32 out of 116 in my age group. This is almost the top quarter. I was thrilled when I saw this and posted on Facebook, “If you’re a so-so runner like me, stay with it. All you have to do is get older.”
My sister-in-law, Maria, runs much faster than I do and has run several marathons. Her response to my post was, “Awesome, Sue. As we age gracefully, so our competitors lessen and our hard work pays off.” I am not even close to Maria’s level of fitness, and to hear her say “we” are aging gracefully was the highlight of my day.
I’m not sure I’ve ever thought much about that concept, but I sure thought about it that day. What does it mean to age gracefully? No matter whether you are 20 or 90 years old, you are aging. Probably aging gracefully means something different to you than it does to me.
Partly what it means to me is making an effort to stay in good health as I age. Three years ago, I had a bone density scan that showed osteopenia (low bone density). My Mom and Grandma both had back issues, and I hope not to have chronic back pain like they did. I have taken calcium since becoming an adult, but after that scan, the doctor said my supplement should include minerals. She also advised regular exercise. I recently had another bone density scan, and my bone density is now normal. By being proactive, I have strengthened my bones.
This good news made me determined to continue to work toward aging gracefully. There are still things I need to do to succeed.
* Keep my weight at a healthy level.
* Enjoy life. This includes continued effort to deal better with anxiety, which is a recurring issue for me. I don’t want to be anxious as I age.
* Keep serving as librarian at my church. Keep writing. I want to use my talents.
* Stay with my fun run club. I find role models there who keep me exercising.
Below is a picture of one of my role models for fitness, Muriel. In this photo, we are getting ready to run at a nearby park.
Muriel often schedules and leads fun runs during the day, which helps to keep me running. It is sometimes a challenge to keep up with her. Last April, she ran the Naperville Women’s half marathon 16 minutes faster than I did, placing 2nd in her age group. Muriel will turn 75 in mid December. She is an inspiration to me and to others in our running group. I am grateful for her friendship.
What does aging gracefully mean to you? What will you do or stop doing in order to age gracefully? Who are your role models?