Before you get mad at me for asking, let me preface with, I genuinely feel age is just a number. Not to detract from our years of experience and gained wisdom, but to challenge what we think is possible based on our chronological age. How, what, who is deciding what you are capable of at different ages?
The number of candles on your birthday cake? When we are younger we eagerly await the next candle, sometimes adding fractions of the year to our age when asked. We do this until…..when? Until you’re not quite where you wanted to be by the new age you are turning? Until your body started putting up a fuss after another year of carrying you around in the world? (By the way, have you been taking care of yourself?) The number of candles on your birthday cake are a reflection of how long you’ve walked the earth, not what you should or shouldn’t be doing in your life. OR what you are or are not capable of!
The Doctor? This is a hard one because right after Mama, many think the Doctor is always right. I had the most horrendous pain in my elbow years and years ago so went to the Doc. After an x-ray and barely examining me he looked at me and said “Well, you’re almost 40 so what you have is Tendinitis in your elbow.” Ummm, excuse me? Come again? Because I’m almost 40? A few trips to a Chiropractor and Massage Therapist and I’ve never experienced the pain again.
Your Kids? Right after helicopter parents fly out, the helicopter kids fly in. Walking through Costco on a busy Saturday, a middle age couple and her mother are walking down the spices isle. The mother reaches for the biggest jug of vinegar you’ve ever seen, and the daughter quickly cautions “Be careful, Mama! That’s heavy!” The mother makes eye contact with me and I say out loud to her “looks like you’ve got it handled” to which she exclaimed “I work out every day!” As she starts doing bicep curls with two jugs.
Your Title? Grandma! Grandma! Grandma! Relish in the joy of the role, but don’t let your title determine if you are able to do something or not. My friend, Nancy McCormack, just set a national rowing record for women who are 85. Check out her picture and proud granddaughter write up on Facebook here. Just because some cutie patoo-ties call you Grandma, doesn’t mean you have to stop challenging yourself!
Hopefully you are getting the drift. Keep moving your body, learning new things, exploring the world and staying in community. You will be healthier, and honestly, your helicopter kids will be happy to share a piece of that next birthday cake with you, regardless of how many candles are on it.