Once we hit, what 40? these days, we are taught by this consumer culture that we’re all over the hill. True? Do you feel that? Women rush off to Botox their faces into smooth planes as if wrinkles are the devil’s work. Necks are despaired over and don’t let’s look at our hands! When will the plastic surgeons sort THEM out? In reality, it’s our self-esteem at issue.
Having returned from a gruelling walk of 850 kilometres in Spain – I walked most of the Via de la Plata Camino – I experienced first-hand just what our ageing, decrepit, fragile, over the hill bodies are capable of. And at 56, I was one of the YOUNGER ONES there. As I have mentioned before, there were several women in their 60s to 70s walking the same mountainous path as me, and there was an 86 year old guy doing the Camino, as well as men in all age ranges. He was 30 years older than me.
We are not over the hill once we “start ageing”. The fact that a newborn babe has already “started ageing” is ignored by this consumer culture.
Somehow we seem to have bought into the whole idea of ageing and fragility. Taking care of brittle bones – but letting them get brittle in the first place. Ageing has somehow come to mean running out of steam. Becoming less able. And somehow complacent about it.
We older people are confronted with youth that saturates all media. Older folk in media are relatively invisible.
And yet – older folk populate all the camino roads that cross Spain. Older folk are running marathons, doing Masters’ Olympics, climbing personal mountains of physical achievement.
I came away from Spain amazed at what my “old” bod had achieved and how many “older” people of both sexes there were who had done the exact same thing. I came away amazed at how strong my body actually was – 20 kilometres a day of walking – that’s what my body can do and I’m not Wonder Woman – and at how little we actually need to eat to sustain that level of physicality.
How did we buy into this Fragility Campaign?
We aren’t “over the hill” – but rather, our bodies can get “over the hill” walking with strength and determination. We are strong physically! And we have life experience in our CVs.
If bones are brittle due to lack of exercise, and if you are capable of exercising, then get out of the house and show yourself how STRONG your body actually is!
Prevention is the best medicine, endorphins are the best medicine, Vitamin D is the best medicine (sunshine).
More on this later – it’s becoming a campaign for me, isn’t it?
keep walking! (note to self also)