October 30, 2012

Getting Old - #1

People around me are getting old. I can’t see the point in choosing such a path. Recently, a student who is 20 years younger than me came to visit. We hadn't seen each other for several years. She took me to dinner and during the conversation asked, “Aren’t you ever going to get old?” “What for?” I quipped, surprised. She looked at me for a long moment and said, “The day I come to visit and I look older than you I’m going to be pissed!” We laughed, but I could see that she didn’t like the idea of getting old. Probably no one does. People are often surprised when I say I’m almost 65 years old. They expect me to look and act my age, but I have no interest in doing so. In truth, I never think about my age except to celebrate. When it comes to age, the only thing you need to remember is that getting old means giving up movement. Once you do this, you’re on the path toward not moving at all. When all movement stops, they put you in the ground. Loss of movement starts with a stiff finger or a stiff back. Almost everyone makes the mistake of avoiding the movement that causes the pain. But the pain is a red flag that there has not been enough movement. What is needed is to begin moving that finger or stretching that back, slowly and gently, while ‘breathing into’ the painful area. Eliminating that movement and breathing in a shallow way so you can’t feel the pain is the worst thing you can do. Life is motion and movement. Don’t give up a single movement! We all know that the body is a use-it-or-lose-it affair. Take a look at Ernestine Shepherd and then take a look in the mirror. What could you be or do with your life if you dropped the ideas you have about getting old?