Age 49: Day 2
Here I am at 49. Same imperfect body. Same question: Is now finally the time to tackle my body issues? And what, exactly, does tackling my body issues mean? One could say that it means finally, FINALLY getting rid of those extra 20-odd pounds that have dogged me since, oh, my 13th birthday, give or take. I've had decades of relative slimness and decades of downright chubbiness, but somehow, I'm always heading from one to the other, never quite comfortable in my skin. And as I look effin' 50 in the face (as the 20-somethings say) the question is: What do I want to do about this?
I know many women who, not coincidentally, are hovering around 50, just like me, and who are undergoing last ditch body transformations. Take my sister. She and her husband recently embarked on a running program called Couch to 5K and after 20 years of a pretty low-key fitness regimen, she and her husband are now doing regular 3 mile runs at sub-10 minute miles and basically kicking my butt. Me, who has been faithfully running around the reservoir for those same 20 years. (Granted, the only people I pass are people who are walking, but still.) I had lunch with another friend the other day who, after 8 years of devoting most of her mental, emotional and physical energy to her 8 year old son (she took the leap and became a mother on her own), dropped 20 pounds on the eve of her own 50th. "I'm ready to date again," she told me. "Something has woken up in me." Looking at her, at her newly revealed waist line and the emerging muscles in her arms, I felt both inspired and envious. Because I've also thought that 49 was the year to finally just freaking DO IT already. Get the body I want.
When I was single, I used to secretly roll my eyes at married women who complained about their weight. Though I'd nod and smile sympathetically, as women do, inside, I was thinking: "What do YOU have to complain about? You're MARRIED! You have someone who loves you, whatever you look like. You don't have to be out there, describing your body type on dating sites, trying to stand out in the candy store that is the NYC dating scene!" (Okay, maybe I was a little bitter.)
Now that I have someone who loves me, and is attracted to me, and is happy to lie down next to me at night, I wonder: Is this body thing, these extra 20 pounds...are they still worth thinking about? Is it time to really put my mind to it, to push myself on those desultory runs or on my weekend swims across the lake, where I'm spending most weekends these days? Wouldn't it be nice to put all this emotional energy elsewhere and just...not think about it? I'm not talking about giving up or letting myself go. I'm talking about letting myself off the hook. Because how important is 20 pounds, anyway?
Then again, there's the lure of the hard body. It's now or never.
What do you think? (below, a glimpse of the lake I swim across--very slowly, on my back, while looking at the clouds) and hammock I would like to be lying on. Sigh.