As you know, I am slightly obsessed with all things circus.
Not the elephants and tigers kind of circus. I am talking about the physical artistry of the acrobats, strongmen and daredevils.
I myself am neither. But I am parent to two little boys who are everything I am not: one who is both a strongman and an acrobat, and the other, a daredevil and an acrobat.
My father was once a talented gymnast, and my mother reports that the daredevil gene might have come from her. My indulgent husband can claim zero prowess in any of these domains, so I have to believe that these strange little biological traits come from my side of the family.
It should come as no surprise that my little boys are impressive on a tightrope. I watched them at circus school, progressing from a balance beam to a tightrope over the course of fifteen minutes. I wished I could give it a try, too.
Getting old stinks.
I had fallen asleep during my boys’ naptime. It had happened suddenly. I hadn’t even had the time to get cozy, that something woke me up. Simultaneously, the whole right side of my body seized up in some kind of pathetic attempt to stay in bed. I tried to stand up, but I listed to one side. What is that?
For about twenty minutes, I walked strangely bent over, until I was able to A. wake up sufficiently to realize what was happening and B. stretch myself adequately to the other side.
This weird little balance thing I had for twenty minutes several months ago is no big deal. I was chatting with a friend who has a genuine vestibular issue, which causes dizziness and balance problems on the long-term. Not having balance is the scariest thing that can happen to a person.
My great-grandmother broke her hip after a fall. She died shortly thereafter. I’m not saying that the broken hip killed her, but I have to think that a lack of balance can be fatal.
Body Positivity and Health
The Ideal Life Theme of Body Positivity and Health is, obviously, two distinct ideas:
- Body Positivity: I want to love every part of my body, no matter its size or distribution or how it compares to others. I especially do not want to not get pulled into the trap of comparing myself unfavorably to bodies younger than mine. I want to love my body no matter whether it is healthy, mobile, energetic, strong, or not.
- Health: I want to do everything in my power to stay healthy, mobile, energetic, strong and live in harmony with my monthly cycles (and whatever else hormones throw my way.)
When I took a look at my miles-long list of In my Ideal Life I am a person who… statements, there was a large number of statements projecting myself into my old age:
In my Ideal Life I am a person who:
- gets better with age
- who doesn’t stop moving, even when I am old
- has good balance and doesn’t fall
- loves my body, even when it gets all wrinkly and old
- knows that my skin will change with age and doesn’t freak about about it
- believes that I can still be beautiful, even if I don’t look young
- doesn’t have to rely on medicine to stay healthy
- stays as limber as I can, no matter my age
Keeping an eye on our health and how we feel about our body is absolutely critical. Starting when we are young and when things are going (relatively) well, we can have a baseline. It takes some investment in time as we develop habits and routines to track our health, but once that investment is complete, we can essentially go on living our lives normally, but with a system in place to make it obvious when things are getting off track.
Tomorrow, we are going to look at how knowing what we want for our future impacts how we live our lives, and especially in this very, very important area of our health.