As old as you feel

Don’t dwell on the numbers. They don’t matter (except for Medicare and Social Security, and taxes). You’ve heard the old saying, “You’re only as old as you feel.” Yes, some days you might feel creaky or fragile and feel like you’re a hundred and two. I know I do. But I try not to let that affect my activities for the day. I may move a little slower on those days, but I try to keep on moving.

Don’t get stuck in the ground

Because stagnation will make you plant roots. And while some roots are great – like friends and family, a home that you love or a community that keeps you grounded. But other roots will make you sluggish and slow. And make you feel that you really can’t do what you want to. Just because you’re 50, 60 or 70 – that doesn’t mean that you’re unable to reach your goals. Don’t think about the dwindling number of years you may have left. Think about all the great days ahead of you.

Workout choice to fit my feeling

Yesterday I admit that I was feeling a little funky, but I knew I’d feel guilty if I didn’t work out as I planned. I chose a favorite non-impact Pilates workout. By the time the half hour was up, I felt much better. This is a workout that focuses primarily on core strength, but uses resistance bands to really challenge you. Familiar moves like “The 100,” and “Circle Teaser” are taken to the next level with those bands. So, in addition to your core being strengthened, your arms are getting stronger too.

Side Plank Star

As old as you feel - not with the side plank star move.

When the workout was over, I felt so much better that I decided to try and do the Side Plank Star move that I had a photo done a few years ago. This move uses the core, the legs, the arms … just about everything. It’s a fun move that challenges your balance as well. Plus it looks cool. (Start in a side plank position and lift the top leg. Be sure you’re on a non-slip surface.) So yesterday, I started out feeling like I was 100 years old, but ended up much younger than that!

Feeling happy today

Why do I feel happy?

I’m feeling happy today and I don’t really know why. There’s still a pandemic. The economy (no matter what anyone says) is really not doing very well. I spent most of the day working on a grant application and then the submission host crashed…

But, I put my favorite station on Pandora and I’ve been bouncing in my seat all day.

The sun is shining. The air is a little cooler and more clear. I had a (pretty) good night’s sleep. My back doesn’t hurt and I put in 4 good workouts this week. I was able to watch some of a live stream from one of my favorite places on earth and watched a dolphin paint a wine glass. I might have to save my pennies to bid on that during the auction!

Feeling happy!

Optimism rocks!

I’m feeling optimistic as a result. Our grant will be accepted. It won’t be 90 degrees again this year. They’ll find and approve an effective vaccine and figure out a way to manufacture and distribute it safely to everyone who wants it expeditiously.

The moral there is – get happy. Grow your optimism. Find ways to make yourself happy. Pessimism paralyzes. When you’re feeling down about everything it’s much more difficult to get up the energy to accomplish even the most necessary tasks. Connect with friends. Seek out things that are guaranteed to make you happy – at least, happier.

Results of happiness

When you’re happy, you’re more productive. You relate better to others. You’re kinder. You sleep better. For me, when I’m happy and optimistic, I snap at others less. I’m able to plan. I look forward, and don’t dwell on the past. I’m less likely to eat junk. I’ll sleep better and wake more refreshed. Smiling uses fewer muscles – I won’t get lines around my mouth. And all that dancing in place has surely burned a few calories!

A solemn anniversary – be good to yourself

Today is the 19th anniversary of the day our safe little world ended. September 11, 2001 – the day terrorists took over 3 planes and did so much damage the world changed forever.

The world came together

Be good to yourself

In the days following 9/11, people the world over came together to deal with their stress and grief. We honored the first responders. We grieved with the families of the fallen. We tried to come to terms with the events of that horrible day.

My sister and I had reservations for a vacation just a few weeks after 9/11 – a hiking tour around parts of Quebec. The trip went on, and even though friends said that to be prepared for French Canadian haughtiness, the predominant feeling I got from the people we met there was camaraderie and friendship. The world did, indeed come together.

Another crisis today

These days, we’re in the midst of another crisis – the global COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone is dealing with the same crisis, dealing with stress and uncertainty about the future – even uncertainty about the present.


Rev. Kevin Massey, who worked as a Chaplain at Ground Zero in New York City after 9/11, sees similarities between the two events. “These days are very similar to those,” Massey told WGN radio. “At that time, we felt uncertain about what was next. We feel that now, too. We were afraid and anxious. We feel that now too. At the same time, was there not a spirit of unity that drew people together?” he says. “I see that happening now all over the place as well.” Massey talks with health care workers, helping them get through times of stress.

Importance of Resiliency

And Rev. Massey talks about the importance of resiliency – the ability to bounce back from tough times. “To be deeply affected does not mean that we are defeated,” he said. “And it turns out that resilience can be bolstered through practices of self-care and self-nurture and seeking human connectivity.”

So, be good to yourself! Give yourself a break. If you don’t get everything done that was on your to-do list and you worked hard, so what. Take a little extra time to breathe air. Enjoy some nature – even if it’s just pictures. Share a favorite video.

And reach out to friends. Start a Zoom call. Or just send a message that says you’re thinking about them.

Learn more about how you can become more resilient in the free ebook.

There’s always a modification

Don’t let the thought, “Oh, I can’t do that – it’s too hard” prevent you from doing something you want to do. Especially when it comes to exercises. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t do jumping jacks, do side toe taps with arm swings. If you can’t jump, lift your knees high. There’s always a modification.

Keep trying - full plank with one arm and one leg.

Like with this pose. It’s definitely challenging. It works your core, your legs, your balance, your arms. It works every part of your body – and your mind.

Keep practicing

But it takes practice. I certainly wasn’t able to do this the first time I tried it. But I thought it would be a fun pose to have in my arsenal, so I kept practicing.

I started with this:

Modified exercise bird-dog plank

Now, this isn’t exactly a walk in the park either. This modified plank with bird dog uses your core and your balance. You’ll definitely feel your abs fire up when you lift alternate limbs, and your balance will be shaky the first few times. (And, yes, that’s my dog’s butt at the bottom left of the picture!)

And after a few times, I got stronger and felt ready to try the full version of the pose. And that was a laugh. Good thing I was on a mat because I fell on my face.

Don’t give up!

But I didn’t give up. There were other exercises that kept me going – ones that I was comfortable with and that would strengthen my arms, my core, my legs and my balance.

And I kept doing the modified version of the pose to get my body used to a simulation of the movement. To sort of challenge my balance the way that the full version would. And ultimately I tried the full version of the pose – and succeeded!

If you’re not strong enough (yet) for a full push-up, try it from your knees. Or, better yet, on your couch or a chair. Put your hands on the seat, feet on the floor and try that. This simulates the push-up better than from your knees on the floor, but it’s somewhat easier.

The point is, don’t NOT do an exercise. Do a modification.