Countdown to 50–352 days to go

I did what is affectionately called a “Pink” Firm workout this AM. Pink because the hand weights that came with the deluxe workout package I got from an infomercial, have pink handles. The Firm, for those who don’t know, are a group of lovely southern belles from South Carolina who exhort you to shape and sculpt your muscles using a series of gimmicky props such as the “fanny lifter” and the “sculpting stick”. There still is a workout studio called The Firm in Charleston I think but I don’t think any of the ladies in the videos actually teach there anymore. Sadly, the founder of The Firm, Anna Benson, died a few days ago of stomach cancer.

The workout I chose was the Total Body Time Crunch workout led by Rebekah and joined by fellow Firm master instructors X, Y, Z and Emily. “If you’re new to the Firm, follow Emily…” I know this shit by heart because I’ve been doing Firm workouts in various incarnations for almost ten years now, and I’m not even a die-hard Firmie. For 45 minutes, Rebekah led me through a series of cardio and sculpting routines using the pink weights (that smell kind of funny).

Before I got a nasty cold back in August, I rarely did pink Firms because I thought they were a bit too easy and that I was sandbagging. Since my illness and slow recovery that was further hampered by the distraction called NaNoWriMo, my fitness level has dropped like a stone from the Empire State Building. I hate this because it’s going to take me FOREVER to recover my pre-illness fitness level. You just don’t bounce back from this stuff when you get older as I’ve learned. I about died doing my usual Thanksgiving workout of Cathe Friedrich’s Rhythmic Step. I’ve done this workout every Thanksgiving morning while the turkey cooks for the past five or six years. Talk about needing a nap after the meal. Hoo-boy was I out.

The scariest thing though is wondering, “what if I never get back to where I was?” What if my maximum potential today is less than my achieved potential a few months ago. When will I have to start doing chair-based workouts? shudder How far am I from the day when walking to the mailbox will be my daily workout? When will I have to sell my house because it has too many steps?

I hate these thoughts and I know I need to just slap some sense back into my head. The worse thing I could do would be to give up gaining a foothold on the slippery slope and just glide the rest of the way down and crash to the ground at the bottom. I’m not THAT old after all. I’m still in my forties…for 352 more days.

Countdown to 50–353 days to go

A 365 day idea that you start on day 353 kind of loses a little of its oomph.  Nevertheless, as they say, better late than never.

My birthday is November 18 and on that date in 2010, I will turn fifty, 5-0, 50, a half century.  Gulp.

It’s hard not to dwell on the things I never did and probably will never do at this point in my life because I’m too old or there are other impediments such as life scars that will prevent  their fulfillment.  For example, I will never bear any more children.  Now that one I’m not too choked up about since it was my wish to only bear two in the first place and I’ve already done that though I sometimes wonder if I brought home the wrong kids.  (“Doctor, these hellions couldn’t possibly be my spawn.  Could you check and see if another mother who bore a child around the same time as me might have complained about having a child that is too compliant and easy-going?”)

Still, some of the things that stretch the realm of credibility barring a miracle do make me sad sometimes.  For example, I will probably never compete in the Olympics, not that I was ever close to being a competitor when I was young.

Some things I won’t do because the cost-benefit has shifted too far to the cost side.  For example, I will never get my PhD and become a college professor.  Once upon a time, I entertained this idea.  Now, it leaves me cold.

I won’t ever marry a handsome foreigner.  I’ve already married for life so I seriously doubt I’d ever want to start over again if, God forbid, I found myself widowed or divorced.  A New Mexican is about as exotic as it’s going to get for this chica.

But enough of that.  What about the things I still have plenty of time to do if I muster up the inclination?

I can still write and publish a book.  As a matter of fact, writing after retirement has a certain appeal to it.  Of course I’d have to travel to research exotic locales.  All doable.

I can still walk the Pennine Way, the Appalachian trail, the Appian way.  It might take me a really long time but broken down into bite sized pieces, it’s doable.  (I hope those are the right names.  If not, oh well.  I’m too lazy to research them but suffice to say they are multi-day walks through England and the Appalachian mountains of the eastern USA.)

I can still learn a musical instrument.

I can still learn a foreign language and/or live in a foreign country (though marriage is out of the question for reasons already cited above.)

I can still lose those extra pounds.

I can still get a black belt in some sort of martial art.  It might be an honorary black belt but I wouldn’t quibble.

I can still win the lottery.

I can be on the Amazing Race.  I might be half of the first team eliminated but so long as I get to meet Phil, I could live with that.

So anyway, the key here is to focus on the positive and set those goals that are attainable, some easier than others, some even obtained through the luck of the draw or by chance.  I’m not picky. Life must be enjoyed through a healthy mix of sweat and good fortune.  But it takes wisdom to recognize good fortune when it drops in your lap, wisdom that is acquired from living life.  Yo!  I got a lot of that and I’m ready.