Quite a few of my clients are in their forties and fifties. For many, it is as if they have awakened out of a Rip Van Winkle-like slumber in a body they barely recognize. As they rub the sleep of their youth from their eyes, they are shocked and dazed at the state of their disrepair. “I don’t know how I got this way,” is a refrain I hear often.
Yet, as we talk, it is apparent how they got that way. Step, by step, by step. Priorities shift, self-care slips. Realizing one no longer has the agility or metabolism of a 20 year old is a little like the feeling Dorothy had when she said, “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
So we wake up and realize the rules have changed. We are not 20 anymore. We can’t eat and drink anything we want. We can’t stay up all hours of the night. We can’t sit on our butt for 12 hours a day without it becoming very large.
We’re not in Kansas anymore.
In my early forties, I went to my physician, a woman also in her forties, for a check up. She pronounced vehemently, “The forties suck!” What was I to do with such encouragement?
I decided as I left her office, that I wasn’t going to drink the Kool-Aid of pessimism about getting older.
For me, there is a big difference between acceptance and settling. Acceptance is a one of the gifts of aging well. It makes us kinder and gentler with ourselves and others. It causes us to appreciate our body, and take better care of it. Settling, on the other hand, is putting up with what I should never put up with. It is resignation. For me, settling is the S-word, a very bad word indeed.
I refuse to settle for inactivity, weight gain, ill health, lethargy or malaise in my 40′s. To me, it is just not acceptable. I honestly believe that I can be Younger Next Year (a great read, BTW). I honestly believe there is a lot of life ahead, and just as I no longer settle for low quality food, I refuse to settle for a low quality life. I will not be imprisoned or limited by the choices I have made about my health and my body. I can choose differently.
I can choose health. Every single day, that is a choice I must make.
So whether you are forty or fifty– or twenty with a body that feels and looks much older than it is–wake up and take action to improve your health.
It may not be Kansas, but smack dab in the forties, I’m here to tell you, The Land of Oz ain’t so bad.