“I’m Still Sixteen Inside!”
By Kathi Macias
Every now and then I have one of those days when I understand what my grandmother, “Omi,” used to say so many years ago: “My body is getting old and worn out, but inside I’m still sixteen.” We grandkids would laugh and wonder what in the world she was talking about. Now Omi has long since graduated to heaven, and I am slowly but surely taking her place as the “oldie but goodie” in the family. Still, most of the time I feel relatively healthy and energetic; yet, as I said, there are days…
At no time are those days more evident than in January. Years ago I looked forward to January, as the month represented a new year, a new start, new plans, new resolutions…and a new membership at a new gym. And in those days, I actually used the memberships. Now? To be honest, I no longer waste the money to sign up.
Seriously, when I was hitting the gym on a regular basis, the January influx of new members was something we regulars always expected. Everyone took advantage of the January specials and enrolled with high hopes. Convinced they would follow through and see those unwanted holiday pounds melt away and muscle tone increase, they showed up in their workout clothes (many with the tags still attached), ready to go. It was an annual event I observed with some amusement.
Young women who hadn’t been out of high school for ten years suddenly found out that “baby fat” and a decade without gym classes had taken their toll. Five minutes into their first one-hour aerobics class, they were gasping for air and crying for mommy. A handful never returned for the second class.
Others managed to tough it out for a few weeks until their goal of losing ten or twenty pounds had been met; then off they went to return to their former sedentary lifestyles until the next January.
The most determined and disciplined became part of our regular group, showing up three or four times a week regardless of weather, health, the economy, or ailing children. But those ladies were few and far between.
Rarest of them all was the “over fifty” bunch. I have to admit that seeing out-of-shape, post-menopausal women in tights and leotards was not the highlight of my life, but I admired those women—though for some inexplicable reason, I never stopped to think that I would be joining them one day. Now “fifty-anythings” seem young, as I draw closer to the age my grandmother was when she moved on to the place where low-impact aerobics classes are no longer even a pathetic memory.
To be honest, Omi never set foot in a gym or worried about dieting. She was a disciplined eater who walked every day of her life. If anyone had suggested to her that she should spend money to go to a gym to exercise, she would have called 9-1-1 and reported that she was being assaulted by a lunatic.
As for me, I haven’t paid for a gym membership in years, but I have begun to realize how important it is for me to be more like my grandmother—disciplined in my eating and walking daily. Is that enough? It depends on my goal. If I set a New Year’s resolution to get back into the shape I was when I attended the gym regularly and wore a size three…not even close. But if my goal is to stay as healthy as possible until I, like Omi, graduate to heaven, then I believe I’m doing just fine. Besides, I’ve finally realized that I look a lot better in a baggy shirt, jeans, and walking shoes than in leotards and tights.
Happy New Year to you all—wherever you spend your Januarys!