Saturday, March 19, 2011

All the King's Horses

I put my parents through a fair amount of grief in my youth. For example, in high school I backed into their car (while driving their other car) and changed majors in University more often than a teenage girl changes outfits before a first date.  Trying unsuccessfully to mask his frustration, I vividly remember a conversation with my Dad when he finally laid down the law, “You’re not Moses. You can’t spend 40 years wandering around in the wilderness of university.” He was paying the bill so I declared a major and stuck with it.
However, my parents have given me many gifts; my too large nose is from my Dad (thanks), my horrible eyesight is from my Mother (eternally grateful), and my propensity towards taking in every stray animal, beast and person is from the pair of them. But, the greatest gift they have given me, in my opinion, is their example of healthy, balanced living and a positive attitude towards aging. After all, health is the platform we stand on in order to achieve the energy and attitude required to do the things we love.
I spoke to my Dad yesterday. He and my mother are in their 80s. He’d just returned from his 3 km walk. He shovels snow, chops and stacks tons of wood, and mows acres of grass. He and my mother maintain three large properties, two in Ontario and one in Newfoundland. Whenever I feel like whining about my age I am reminded of what my Dad always says, “Getting older sure beats the alternative.”
After my first half marathon I joined a running group that rhymes with “Stunning Groom”. I was really, really nervous. After all, I am a middle aged 44 year old and sometimes I feel like I’m old. Would I be able to compete with the young ‘uns in this group?
Upon arrival, I was stunned by the gender diversity of the group: there were women, women and more women (and 3 men) not to mention the varied age groups: old, older, and oldest. To be fair this is a bit of exaggeration, there was at least one person under 30. But, most of all, I was shocked to see The Lady in Line (see previous post).
That really threw me for a loop. I didn’t know what to do. Should I make eye contact? Should I be friendly? Should I pretend not to notice her? No need. She looked at me, smiled and said, “Hello.” That was the night she transformed from The Lady in Line to Carole.
Over long runs, agonizing hills and crazy speed work, a few us formed a sort of cult colony; we took on rolls more defined than the polygamous Sister Wives on TLC. We had the perkier than percocet, get ‘er done motivator, Betty Ann, the organizer, Karen, the speed demon, Donna who, despite pronating like a penguin, could outrun the lot of us when she decided to turn it on, Ron, the token minority man, and myself, the crazy chronicler. And we all paid homage to our illustrious clinic leader and her husband, Sandra & Terry.
After an evening run we are back listing our litany of appointments for the next week. Being older, several of us require a team of highly skilled professionals larger than a Nascar pit crew to keep us in ‘running’ order. We are all boasting about who we have on board to put us back together. Humpty Dumpty didn’t have anything on us! Collectively we share our stories about our sore hips, dodgy knees, painful backs, tight hamstrings, and tense IT bands.
Since I have started running, I’ve become very fond of the services of a chiropractor. Upon visiting my chiropractor I found out that my right hip is resting an inch higher than my left. Funny, I walked into that visit a perfectly happy, well adjusted person, but walked out knowing that I am actually a gimpy, lopsided freak of nature. But, the chiropractor isn’t all bad news. I remember lying face down on the bench talking about my gait. He responded with, “It’s hard to change a gait. After all, you’ve been walking this way for 30…”
“40”, I corrected.
It felt almost as good when I mentioned that I’ve gained some weight since hitting 40 and he said, “No worries, you’re still tiny.”
(It should be noted that these things were said before I told him I was self-employed and did not have any health benefits to cover chiropractic visits.)

“I’m having a physio appointment this week,” says one.
“Massage and acupuncture,” says another.
My turn, my turn! “I have a chiropractic appointment scheduled for Wednesday and I’ve booked a massage for Thursday.”
“Hummmp.” I hear a grunt behind us.
I turn in the direction of the snort. An older gentleman is stretching nearby, overhearing our conversation. I can’t tell if he’s 60 or 80 years old, but he is definitely more senior than me and my posse.
“While you’re at it, why don’t you make an appointment with your paediatrician,” he growls and storms off.

Oh. Time for pause and I think to myself, "Suck it up Buttercup, age is relative!"

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Do you know someone older than yourself who you are particularly proud of for the way they choose to live healthily? Please leave a comment. I'm proud of my parents.


  1. ahh this is great Heather!!!
    like they say, age is just a number ... what matters is your attitude, positivity, and what you behave like. (also the maturity level, you can find 40 years olds with the believes on a 60 year old and the other way around)
    so age shouldn't matter in any direction of life.
    I really wow-ed when I read about your parents and what they do... awesome!!! ( now if I could only get myself to live more healthy ;] )
    keep up the writing- I enjoy it :)

  2. I wish my parents were that healthy, good for you!

  3. Heather, there's something you left out. Of course you left it out. You had to leave it out. How could you have known about it? It is this: a real plus to getting old is that you can read blogs from a very talented daughter! Even when she's in her 40's!
    Thank you for your gentleness in your remarks.

  4. That is so awesome you have parents that are such great role models. You are blessed!

  5. I thought we were all 29?