Southern Women “do not go gentle into that good night.” And I intend to follow suit. I also have friends with the same plans.
I am not sure when I completely realized I was aging. It was probably a gradual thing. But I definitely “did not go gentle” into aging. I think at first I experienced much denial. I had a facelift in my mid-fifties. That is definitely denial. Then because I had always been slim and trim, I ignored the possibility of weight gain in later life. But I was just like my mother, and gained weight about the same time she did. When I retired, I decided to get really active. The problem was that by the time I made this decision, I struggled with arthritis, spinal stenosis, bone spurs, and bulging discs. Something had to change.
I found a great conservative spine doctor who prescribed an epidural in my spine and water aerobics. The epidural worked. I had been taking dance aerobics and stretch and strength classes every week but was experiencing pain. One day I heard a friend talk about aqua fitness classes at my university. I summoned the courage, recruited a friend, and signed up. The rest is history.
One of our instructors explained that what you do in the water takes 13 times more effort due to resistance than exercise on land. I came to love it. The first venture into the calming water causes me to relax. The aerobic workout, the exercises in the deep end, and then the stretching to follow became something I had to do and I have done it four late afternoons a week. The weight is coming off – 14 pounds since September. I sleep better. I am stronger and more flexible. I have met some new and interesting people. This has been a life changing, serendipitous experience. It is the only exercise I have found that I truly love and can commit to. This is a part of my way to grow old gracefully. I hope to live a long life and that aqua fitness can be a part of it. This is what my Southern mother meant by grace with dignity. If I have the courage to put on a bathing suit at age 64, may I be blessed with grace with dignity.