Monday, September 21, 2009
The 40 Year Old Dancer & How Age is Not the Enemy
Turning 40 was tough for me, and in just 2 months, I will be turning 41 but this birthday will be very, very different.
Here's the thing: The concept of aging only becomes difficult when we aren't leading the life we really, deeply want to lead. When we feel like we've missed our chance. We become bitter and stiff -- metaphorically and literally on that second one.
Take me, for example. Though I thought I was living a full and fulfilling life, my attitude toward my birthday said otherwise. It was a red flag that I was holding something back, not being truthful, hiding from or scoffing at my most fragile dreams.
Sure I've been doing a lot of what I want to be doing. My life is filled with love; I do good work. But I still had a few steps to take toward admitting into my life its missing core.
Since my 40th birthday, so much in my life has changed and most of that has happened over the last few months.
Now that I have admitted dance back into my life, now that I live so much more in my body, my overall Happy Quotient has risen exponentially and continues to do so.
Some of you are giggling or even feeling a bit snarky: "She is FORTY! How do you decide at that age to be a DANCER!?"
I think the same thing in my worst moments but those are short lived, and the majority of time, I know my age does not matter. I am not my age.
Aging is a social construct; it is a culturally agreed upon idea. (Different cultures "age" differently. How do you account for that besides anthropologically? They have different ideas about what "old" means.)
As we age, we feel a bit more tired, so we decide not to do so much so we get more tired. As we age, perhaps we feel a bit stiff so we decide not to move so much and therefore get even stiffer. As we age, we decide it's okay to put on extra weight so we eat more. As we age, we decide that you can't teach old dogs new tricks, so we stop looking for opportunities to learn.
You get the idea.
What if we kept doing, kept moving, ate better, kept learning, kept being challenged?
As we get older, we have accumulated wisdom and we know things we didn't know when we were twenty. What if we decided to accumulate health too? What if we decided to accumulate adventure?
I will write more about this tomorrow, but right now? Because I am smarter at 40 than at 20, I dance and work out smarter, so right now? Get this...I am stronger than I have ever been. Right now? I am just as freaking flexible as I was at 16 -- and at 16, I would have just about qualified as an Official Circus Freak.
It is never ever too late. Eventually, we all get a bit wrinkled, eventually, we all die, but I am going out twirling!
What have you put off? Is there something calling to you but you ignore it, thinking it's "too late?"
(Photo & Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed, blisschick.net, 2009)