Monday, November 8, 2010

Paragons of health and aging

I have two friends who are paragons of health and well-being as they age.

Lynn is 66 and will be climbing Kilimanjaro in February.  She was running marathons frequently until last year when Plantar Faschiatis sidelined her a bit - she still swims and bikes several times a week and even slows down a bit to walk with me a couple of times a week.  I love her attitude towards life and her can-do attitude.  I want to be Lynn when I grow up!

Frances is my other role model.  Everyone in Richmond knows Frances.  She is 91-years-old now.  She founded the dance departments at both U of R and VCU, if I have my story right, and she is STILL teaching dance and performing!  She even performed in London last year.  She posed for me for my Sacred Flesh series then was bold enough to be at the openings to talk to people about her paintings.  She said she didn't feel embarrassed at all - it's just a body,and bodies are meant to be used.  I want to be Frances when I get to be 90!

These two women are showing me a different way to age than I understood when I was younger.  When my grandmother got to a certain age, she stopped doing things to take care of herself.  For example, her teeth were giving her trouble.  She said it wasn't worth doing anything about them.  She was 84, I think.  She lived another couple of years.  It's about attitude, though.  If you feel like it isn't worth maintaining your body because you're not going to be around much longer, then the chances are probably very good that you won't be!

My former in-laws were amazing.  They lived into their 90's and were still riding adult tricycles up until shortly before they died.  He had prostate cancer.  She had breast cancer.  Each had many ailments, but none of the illnesses or injuries stopped them one bit.  They were just as ornery and strong-willed and fit at 90 as they were at 70.  Two more very inspiring folks.

My intention as I age is to stay fit and to pursue my passions wholeheartedly so that there is more to get up for tomorrow than there was today.  I intend to be creatively engaged on a daily basis and to share my passions with others.  Why else am I here?  I've got this one life - maybe I'll have others, but I can't know that - so I may as well get as much out of it as I possibly can.

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