“I’m Still Sixteen Inside!”

January 6, 2010 by  
Filed under Stories

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!

About Kathi Macias

Kathi Macias (www.kathimacias.com; http://kathieasywritermacias.blogspot.com; www.thetitus2women.com) is an award-winning author of more than 30 books, including the popular Extreme Devotion series from New Hope Publishers. She is also a sought-after speaker and teacher at writers’ conferences and women’s events. Kathi lives in Southern California with her husband, Al.


6 Responses to ““I’m Still Sixteen Inside!””
  1. Christine Thomas says:

    Enjoyed this. We should all take a lesson from Omi and pursue good health, not a certain size.

  2. Beth Reinke says:

    Thanks for sharing your Omi’s simple, common sense approach to good health, Kathi. After all, walking and sensible eating is something just about everyone can do. :o)

  3. Sally says:

    Love Omi’s resolve to keep fit, simply. Good article and a great reminder about caring for our not-so-sixteen exteriors!

  4. O.K. I still go to the gym. But, it is a no spandex zone for the over 50s of us. I get there and the 16-year-old hops on the treadmill to walk miles and miles. But the 50+ doesn’t make it quite as far.

    For me it’s a matter of being healthy to serve God. Because I’m in BIC career, I need to get it up once in awhile. Because I pay a little bit a month to go, I go.

  5. Great article, Kathi. I so hope this year I can stay healthy, get settled, and get back in shape. Happy New Year, sweet lady!

  6. Dianne says:

    Never had a gym membership, but I love to walk or work out at home on the treadmill or with weights (where I can wear whatever I want and no one can see me!). Go, Omi’s of the world!

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