I was trying to focus on “long breathing” while holding my yoga pose, thoughts of aging on my mind. Unfortunately, my posture was made more challenging as Porter poked his nose under my arm and decided to squirm in and settle between my hands on the mat. Lulu’s voice kept reverberating in my head “if you’re feeling irritated, it means you’re doing it right”.
Aspen, never one to be left out, plopped down against my back leg, further decreasing both my stretch and my concentration. I worked through the end of my routine before collapsing onto the mat, feeling my newly stretched muscles objecting. Just another near perfect day.
As we have been finding our stride on this road of life, we have spent a lot of time reflecting on how we want to live our life going forward. One drawback of the life we left behind in the 9-5 life was how inactive our routine had become. In our old life we spent SO much time sitting. Sitting in the car on the commute. Sitting in our cubicle at work. Sitting. Sitting.
Our days now begin with long walks, normally on the beach. Instead of driving to the store, we walk. Sightseeing involves long walks from camp into whatever town we are near. Yoga a couple of times a week. Hiking. swimming. We go to sleep when we’re tired, waking naturally. We are feeling our bodies grow stronger and more flexible. We are heading in the right direction.
Last year we traveled to the Copper Canyon with a tour group. We were appalled at the physical condition, or rather lack of condition, of the majority of the group. On the way home we made a pact that we would NOT be those people.
Fast forward to the present. Every day we meet new travelers, the majority of them a similar age of that group at the Copper Canyon. And the difference is astounding. We have camped next to 80 year olds who put us to shame; hiking, biking, kayaking. We have shared stories over happy hour with 70 year olds who spend their time hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and contemplating a bus trip across South america.
We just spent a delightful hour chatting with our current camp host, the vibrant and funny Mary Lou of Aquamarina RV in La Paz who regaled us with stories of their dive business and later the camp we sit at currently. She told us of being carted off to jail after a greedy neighbor purposefully removed some beach access and then turned her as the culprit, forcing her to go all the way to Mexico City’s supreme court to clear her name. At 83 years of age she still carries her own groceries up the stairs and efficiently runs the camp, strong in body and mind and positively scampered up three flights of stairs to show us the “best place” on the property to view the sunset.
What is the difference? What causes some to become obese and stagnant and inactive and others to embrace a physical life, whatever their age? I’m sure the answers are many and varied. In the USA, lifestyle is surely a large part of the answer. Life is simply TOO easy. The conveniences too convenient. Add to the often overly processed food choices and busy lifestyles and you have a recipe for unhealthy aging.
But, it’s certainly more than that. It is a choice. A conscious decision on how you want to live and what is important for your future. We, of course, made our decisions even in our old life. With the time-suck of work and commute we often allowed ourselves to be more drawn into happy hour than a workout. Well, that has changed.
We are going to continue to strive for a life well lived. We want to be one of those 80 years old kayking Bahia Concepcion, or contemplating a bus trip around Africa. We have made our decision. We want to live a life worthy of a book of adventures.
Reflections over, I pushed to my feet and rolled up my mat, feeling just a little more flexible than I did the day before. Another step in the right direction.