Monday, June 22, 2009

Body Parts

I want my old body back; the one with my original hips and left knee intact with cartilage. I write this in frustration after watching a fitness enthusiast run wind sprints up a ski mountain . The bastard. I can no more do that now than fly to the moon.

I am twenty pounds overweight. I have degenerative osteoarthritis which, simply put, is the slow disintegration of the major weight bearing joints. Where's that svelte, willowy woman who stayed fit playing tennis four to five times a week swimming laps and running a two mile course each night for cardio stamina?

I should take solace in the fact I've recently lost ten pounds. It has improved my attitude about my looks. But I'm not there yet. As I've aged, I have become more sedentary. I spend too much time on the computer, both at work and at home. I use my car to travel for sales. I no longer take yoga class as I once did. I had a great teacher for several years but I've never found anyone to replace her and I have lost so much range of motion I find it very uncomfortable to do the poses. If I lived in a more populous area, I would most likely find yoga classes for people with more limited capabilities. But here it is "one size fits all".

Now it's an effort to get to the gym to ride a stationary bike or do the treadmill. I tell myself "more self discipline" is required. There are days and weeks where I am motivated to work out, eat right, not drink. I lost 4 lbs on our Florida vacation. I was active, swimming, biking and walking. The weather was so great. I just wanted to be outside all the time, doing things. Here, I have many excuses: I'm tired, overworked, the weather sucks, the bugs are fierce. I don't try. I should be kinder to myself, less critical of my shortcomings. But I also have an obligation to be the best I can be at this particular time in my life.

My wonderful Buddhist therapist says I am grieving. My husband agrees. It sounds ridiculous and over-the-top; but it rings true. I'll never again be what I once was, but, then I didn't know as much as I do now.

Is wisdom the trade off for youth? If it is, when do I learn acceptance?


Susan said...

Amen, sister! I could have written this post myself, except for the osteo (knock on wood). My poor sister had it in both her hands, rest her soul. Hers was basal osteoarthritis. Nasty stuff, no matter what little name they give it.


Judy said...

I can relate, but so far I'm winning the aging battle.... but not the war.
I really think you would benefit from Tai chi. Sorry I haven't found the DVD I wanted to sent you.
This link was sent to me by my Tai Chi teacher. It is hard working exercise into our daily schedules. But the small choices we make everyday sets us on the path towards the future. Be Mindful of the power of each small step!

Star said...

I agree with you. I want my 18 year old body back too. However, so long as this one works, I'm not going to complain. L's dad, who died recently, used to be thankful every day that he had a warm place to live, food to eat and a comfortable bed to sleep in. He was 87 years old and kept smiling. Now, I know that won't help your frame of mind for today, but I'm sure you'll feel better about your body tomorrow. I think the way upwards is to give yourself very small goals, ones that you can achieve, not ones that you fail at. For example, don't tell yourself you've got to lose 20 pounds or it will put you off. Tell yourself that you need to lose one pounds and DO IT. Then, another and another. I'm sure that will work.Now I'm gonna take my own advice!
Blessings, Star

ArtSparker said...

Keep moving. Walk, wave your arms around. It's not about appearance - my mother spent a lot of time sitting around and now she can't walk without a walker. You need to fight gravity cause, sister, chances are you're going to have a lot of time left (modern medicine).

End of rant.

Will need you to send you address if you would like an Alice.

Pop and Ice said...

I've noticed my one knee seemingly moving oddly lately and it's somewhat uncomfortable. I can usually get it back into a comfortable position, but I have a feeling this may be the beginning of a wonderful relationship with an orthopedic doctor :(

I'm not missing my lost youth yet, but this may be the beginning....

ellen abbott said...

Acceptance comes in stages. At least for me it does. I accept things a little at a time. OK, I'm never going to have big boobs. that one took me a long time to accept, I'm never going to have naturally straight and thick hair. Unwrinkled skin? I worked hard for those wrinkles. And so the list goes on. But for all the things I have lost or have given way, I have gained so much more. Not wisdom necessarily, but lots of life experience.

Don't ever give up on movement though. When my mother turned 60, she announced that she was old and so would not do stuff anymore. And eventually, she couldn't do stuff anymore. Keep moving!

Lover of Life said...

I don't know, but I'm with you. It's time to get my act together!

Mary Ellen said...

I can so totally relate to this - I haven't been able to do yoga for a month and my back is starting to sag - I imagine it as being much more hunched than it is, but still. It's helpful to know I'm not alone - and that it's also worth the effort to combat the sag. Good for you for losing some weight and turning things around. Maybe there's a good "gentle yoga" video you could get your hands on, since you have done enough in the past to know the basic poses.

Ruth said...

Oh thank you for this.

This week I have been grieving my aging face. I think it's because of the upcoming wedding that I am looking in the mirror way too much, imagining the photos we'll be posing for. I have these annoying wrinkle-dips that I hoped would go away again like the last time I ate cantaloupe and salmon five times a week. But they're not budging.

As for being lithe and limber, I force myself to do Pilates. I use a book. When I get out of the habit, it takes a while to get back into it. But I love how I feel when I can stretch like that.

Have you considered getting a Wii? My daughter has one in their tiny NY apartment and does yoga with it. It's quite incredible actually. It monitors your stance - more than a yoga instructor could. It's not quite like going to a class with a good instructor, but she really loves it at the end of a long day. Just a thought.

Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

Yes, we are grieving; and that's not odd. I just wish women had talked about this before now.

I grieve the fact that I can work like a dog and only lose .2 of a lb in a month; I grieve that I can't get into the clothing I bought last summer when I told myself that I'd never allow myself to go past that weight plateau; I grieve that the eye makeup I put on isn't seen because of my upper eyelids. I grieve so much.

But I believe -- I really do think -- I feel fairly certain -- that I'm learning to accept the aging process. I'm unwilling to go down without a fight. I still exercise but for mobility and flexibility, not to regain that youthful figure I once had. I don't browbeat myself when I look in the mirror like I used to. I don't nag myself when I eat that chocolate bar or extra piece of lasagne. Life is meant to be enjoyed; and I'm gonna grab as much enjoyment as I can out of each day. Too many others are falling around me.

I think that the wisdom we exchange, if you will, for youth is learning to accept the aging process, still love ourselves in spite of these the new changes, and try to be the best we can be - physically, emotionally, spiritually.

Thank you for this post.

California Girl said...

Hi Susan: I'm headed to get checked out by a rhuematologist this afternoon. She saw me 4 yrs ago and gave me a clean bill but my family doc wants me to have another examination; just to rule out things, I hope.

Judy: I have the thank you card and haven't filled it out. Shame on me! I did try doing the exercises but they are hard to follow so I'm trying to find a web site that goes through the motions so I can do and see at the same time. But I know it will help me and I am grateful to you.

Star: I'm not exactly hoping for my 18 yr old body. I'd need to do a deal with the devil for THAT! Back to a size 8 would make me happy.

AS: Yes, moving is key. The more I do move, as in Florida, the better I feel. I think it's the having to exercise part that slows me down.

Pop: you probably should have it looked at. I was diagnosed with cartilage damage to the left knee 20 yrs ago and told to have arthroscopy. I did leg curls with weights instead and kept everything in working order and tennis ready until about 3 years ago when it became bone on bone. Not bad!

EA: Self acceptance is so very hard for me.

LOL: I hear ya!

ME: Yoga is so wonderful and I love it so much. I have seen workships @ Kripalua in western Mass for people with arthritis, people after surgery, etc. I know that is what I need.

Ruth: I remember my mother frantically losing weight to fit into a beautiful dress for my wedding. She looked pretty good. I know how important that event is. I recently got in the habit of recording fitness shows with our DVR but I find those piling up and I don't use them much either. I'm either an in class person or do my own routine @ home person. The tapes tend to become too repetitive. The Wii thing sounds really neat except for the investment. :) We're in a money crunch right now. (who isn't?)

Sandy: that is a thoughtful response and I empathize totally. Your honesty helps me and others like me/us. Thank you for that.

Marguerite said...

All this talk about battles and wars with the aging process amazes me. To me, age is a state of mind. Just plug in the CD player and dance around the house, everyday! :)

Ima Wizer said...

I agree with Star - (good outlook is essential) and with ArtSparker - WALK! Because I have a dog I have to walk her and it does keep me fit at 62. However, I find not one thing good about aging, it's been a pain in the ass.

Reya Mellicker said...

I'm sorry you're feeling achey and uncomfortable, sorry about your knee. having studied anatomy I can say with confidence that there was a design flaw when the gods created knees. They are not built to last.

How I wish that women could gather together all the energy that we expend worrying about our weight, and pour it all into a generator of some kind. We would never again have to buy foreign oil.

Sending thoughts of compassion and love to a fellow woman of a certain age...

California Girl said...

Marguerite: I know I know. Dancing around does help and I find myself doing it when I do housework, as long as I do it to EWF or Stevie Wonder.

Ima: pain in the ass is right! I was hopping up and down this morning while blow drying my hair. Thought it was better than standing all saggy.

Reya: That would be one energetic barrel, no make that a giant silo or oil container (you know, the big ones) Wonderful image and it would pretty much blow eveything else away. We do have alot of positive power and energy. I just have to remember that. Thanks Reya.

____Maggie said...

Gawd! Those gym lights and mirrors are horrible, too. I just recently started back and feel good about myself, but haven't seen my body in over 10 years! I'm trying to figure out who the dumpy one is who keeps following me! :D

California Girl said...

Maggie: you're too funny. We are all hard on ourselves. You are back in there trying but it's painful and you don't like what you see. This is too much a part of us all. Keep going and try to see the woman you are inside. Your blog reveals so much about you...internally!!

Poetikat said...

I'm so glad I discovered THIS blog. I can relate so well to it.
I commented on your Barbie post. If you have a chance, have a look.


California Girl said...

Poetikat: THANK you. That is so very nice. I visited yours today for TT. I'll check out my Barbie post too.

Baino said...

You're among kindred spirits here! Why is it always the left knee! My bug-bear is that crepey chickeny skin on my neck. Hate it! I stare at a treadmill more than I use it. I have one on the back patio but I'm too knackered after work to give it a go, or it's too cold, or dinner has to be made .. excuses, excuses . . this weekend. I promise!

California Girl said...

Oh Baino: I know, I know. xo


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