In it esteemed dancer choreographer Tharp refers to how in her fifties she started to work out at the gym.
Not before she turned fifty mind you. She wrote that she could dead lift 225 pounds after starting to go to the gym.
What each of us earns through our own effort no one can take away from us.
In 2011 when I was 46 years old I decided that I must start lifting weights.
Before then I hadn’t lifted one 5-pound dumbbell.
In January 2014 three years later I could dead lift 205 pounds with the trap bar.
I’m 5’0″ tall and weighed only 115 pounds then.
Of everything I’ve ever done in my life I’m the proudest of having been able to dead lift 205 pounds.
This is not to spook readers. Not all of us will be able to do this or likely would want to do this.
The moral of this story is that it’s not ever too late in life to try to achieve a goal.
My intent when I started lifting weights was to to become able to power through a hard time.
I doubt when most people are facing a trial their first response is to tell themselves: “I’m going to lift weights.”
Only this points to the fact that the enormity or severity of a challenge doesn’t determine our fate.
It’s how we respond to the obstacle that makes the difference.
Unlike other disability rights Advocates who frown on using the words “suffers from” to talk about a person’s condition I’m acutely aware that life is not a bed of roses for anyone–whether we live with a disability or are what’s called “able-bodied.”
No–I don’t like tossing around the word “able-bodied”: to describe people.
It’s because everyone struggles. Like the REM song title of the 1990s: “Everybody Hurts.”
The question is are you going to wallow in self-pity or be jealous of others who seem to have it better than you.
Are you going to give up the fight because the odds are against you?
Are you going to turn fifty and think your glory days are behind you? That becoming frail and infirm is the natural and only trajectory of aging?
I hope in my humble words I can empower readers to risk doing new things. For the joy of doing them as well as being a method to cope with a hard time.
In the spring I turn 58. I was born in the first year of the Generation X cohort.
How is it that the older I’ve gotten I’m on a kick to reinvent myself? The idea of self-reinvention has booted me to risk change. Risking change because I believe in tomorrow.
2023 will be better. In the last weeks of this year I’ve remembered my Teenage Riot. At thirteen years old I had a red skateboard. Rolled down the sloping streets in my neighborhood. Not doing an ollie or other explosive move.
Just happy to be rocking and rolling along the hilly streets.
To this end I’m going to buy a skateboard for my birthday and practice riding on the asphalt roadway in the park. Why can’t a 58-year old woman skate was my thinking.
You do not know until you try what you’re capable of. The older you get you should not rule out going after a long-lost goal with gusto.
What joy-making activities did you give up on when you became an adult? Thinking back to my short-lived skateboarding hobby set ablaze my intention to try to skate in the park.
For fun. Not because I had to be great at it. Simply for fun.
How to Be Older should involve engaging in what gives us joy. Our Third Chapter should be full of light love and laughter.
Failing boldly is the only way to live on the road to achieving success.
I’ll end here with this:
Just maybe–after having a successful career or failing at a career either way–the 25 years after 50 should be spent not trying to or having to prove ourselves and our worth to others.
I might be the oldest person on a skateboard rolling on the asphalt road. That’s okay.
What I know is that as our lives get shorter this is the time to not waste another minute hour day week month or year caring what people think of us and how we look.
Are you in for risking falling down? I’m all for embracing risk. Risk, fail, rise up, and repeat. That’s the only way to live in our Third Chapter if you ask me.
Reading The Third Chapter: Passion, Risk, and Adventure in the 25 Years After 50 schooled me in the truth that making incremental changes is the way to go.
Getting infirm and living with declining health is NOT the inevitable outcome of old age. Illness in later years often comes down to inactivity, loneliness, and being sedentary. Plus lifestyle factors that cause disease like inadequate sleep and fast food forays.
Of course for some of us getting ill is “the luck of the draw” and not influenced by unhealthy habits. As I near the cusp of turning 58 I’m aware this holiday season of the loved ones that are gone from the table.
The missing plates. The truth that at the end of their lives every family member of mine was in a coma or had cancer or heart disease.
With a personal history like this you can see why I’m not taking chances. Forgive me for focusing on the holidays if you do not celebrate one at this time of year.
Since a lot of us gather together at a table with friends and family I want to talk about this here.
Living for today is not a cliché—it’s the only way to live when your life is getting shorter. Dwelling on the past or worrying about the future saps your mental energy. It wastes precious time you could be using to Bake a cake. Sing in a choir. Ride a skateboard.
The end of the year is not the time to start something new. This is what I’ve realized. I’ve also learned the life lesson that trying to force things to happen quickly is a mistake. Rushing, cutting corners, or taking shortcuts will result in a shoddy outcome.
Instead making incremental changes is the way to go. Slowing down and pacing yourself. Having patience. Remembering that Rome wasn’t built in a day.
The Third Chapter technically lasts 25 years. That’s too long to fill up your thoughts with negative perceptions about what you can and cannot do with your time left.
We don’t need another Sun City! We need more Authors of our Third Chapters to defy the expectation that we will age and fade into the sunset willingly with no hope for an active, vibrant life.
In coming blog entries I want to talk about what it’s like to be a Generation X girl living in the Third Chapter. Plus in the coming week I should be able to post new Upper and Lower Body routines.
We’re all counting coins because of the increased cost of food due to inflation. Yet this is precisely when I feel like those of us with a well-stocked pantry and refrigerator should do more to help Americans who are food insecure.
Be grateful. That’s what I would tell everyone reading this blog. Be grateful.
Share the wealth.
It’s the quickest easiest way to feel like a millionaire even when you’re not.
And feeling like a million bucks can help you achieve your goals. Thus inspiring others to dare to dream.
This is what I would tell any ambitious folk reading this blog:
Stay hungry as the saying goes. And feed the hungry.