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Wednesday, 19 September 2012

What is Age?

By Johna Ferguson

So you think you're getting old because you have more wrinkles on your face, more fat around your middle, must wear glasses and, some of us, hearing aids. Well let me tell you how I feel about it all.

I look at age as just a chronological number that changes yearly. So far no scientist has found a way to turn the calendar back. Sure lots of doctors have told you in many ads on TV that you can take years away with this or that treatment, but actually you are still the same age once the procedure is done.

I spend a lot of time at a retirement home just a few blocks from my house. I take advantage of their exercise, yoga and tai chi classes and I have spent a lot of time just looking around at that population and talking to them.

In one seated exercise class there are three women who are in their late 90s yet they never fail to come to that bi-weekly, 50-minute class. When I ask them why they come, they say to keep their minds alert as well as their bodies, especially their balance.

Two of them come with walkers, the other with a cane but they say they won’t slow down or they might never get up.

In one of the standing exercise classes are two women who just turned 90, neither using a cane or walker. I find in all my classes age really has nothing to do with it; how they manage their body is what matters.

Some just relax in the 92 degrees Fahrenheit pool. I do volunteer once a week to go into the pool with a woman; she’s just in her 80’s but cannot walk without the aid of her walker – well, except in the pool where she walks back and forth for 30 minutes.

She admits she can’t swim anymore, her legs just won’t kick, but that does not deter her from exercising by walking in the pool.

So lets not put ourselves into an age category. We’re all getting older and some of us have more problems then others but that’s not what’s important. What’s important is that we realize our limitations and then do our best to at least keep them at bay. It takes real dedication and determination, I know, to do that.

I am not a morning person but I walk to two classes at 8:45AM. Every time that day arrives I think, oh I won’t go this morning, I’m too tired. But something inside tells me to get up, dress, eat and get on my way - rain, snow or shine.

What drives me is that I have been able to bounce back after many serious health problems including two heart procedures. But I swear that unless I pushed myself, I might find it easier to just sit and read a book. I’m just 82 and I know that in future years more problems may crop up, but I hope to face them with a smile and a walk outside and smell the roses if possible.

Therefore I hope all of you are doing something to get your blood moving through your body - not only your body but also your brain. Enjoy the challenge.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Oh Johna-
You are so inspiring!! I am almost 80 and I so agree with you. That is why writing is so good for us, meeting friends like you and getting stuff off of our chests. I always feel better when ESTP arrives.
How nice of you to care for others as well. I admire you so much.

I attend exercise classes at the Y three times a week and swim at a university pool twice each week. Even though I’ve been doing this for quite some time, I still need to push myself to get going knowing how much better I’ll feel both physically and mentally. Your story today gives me all the more incentive to keep going as long as I’m able. Thank you!

Right on, Joana,

Getting out to exercise and socialize is really the key to staying healthy as we age. I'm off in about 30 minutes for weight training with a fitness instructor. It's challenging but invigorating.

Thank you for writing this.

Thanks, Johna I needed that!

I always worry about exercising my brain by reading and writing stories and doing all sorts of puzzles.

You have reminded me that I should worry about my physical,as much as my mental

I'll try to take your advice.

I have been asked to join a synchronized swimming team but am hesitating until I find out the answer to this important question.

If one synchronized swimmer drowns must they all drown?

If you know the answer to that, please tell me so I can make up my mind.

Nancy: I've never heard of even one sync swimmer dying, so that would be the least of my worries. But if it still bothers you look it up on Google and see what you find.


I took your advice and looked it up on Google and this is what they told me.

"If you sign the Esther Williams Oath of Allegiance
you will be entitled to save not only yourself but the swimmer on your right."

So, I'm willing to join. How about you? If you agree we will always make sure we stand next to each other..

Also, I know where we can get a discount on epoxy for our hair and purple rhinestone
waterproof eye shadow.

I turned on the computer to read and write but now that's gonna have to wait until I get back from the gym. See ya!

My sentiments exactly Johna - I was filled with admiration watching the para-olympians - these athletes battle with such enormous physical problems all their life and overcome them to achieve outstanding results - they don't cure their disabilities but they overcome them - that's what we must to with old age - remember the song "We will overcome one day" - Nancy - loved the synchronised swimming post! Called to mind that old joke 'not waving - drowning!'
Great reading all of it.

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