The Third Act
Live Like You Can
By Janis McDonald
A friend told me a story about a 40-year-old Mexican woman who was shocked to see women in their 60s and 70s on top of horses, training themselves as well as their horses to perform dressage. Her view was one of concern because surely we were too old and too fragile to be doing this at our age. North American women of the Boomer and beyond age just take these activities for granted. It’s an example of how many people 50 and up (way up) have changed their thinking about how to age and what’s possible in later life.
People in the United States are living an average of 34 years longer than their great- grandparents. This is an entire extra adulthood to plan for and enjoy. The paradigm shift about aging happened rather quickly, with Boomers at the tipping point of the changing attitudes about aging. A great example of this new thinking is Tao Porchon-Lynch, the world’s oldest yoga instructor. At 96 years old, she brings the wisdom of almost a century of yoga practice to her students. Tao preaches that we should not focus on our age at all, but just forget about it.
At the heart of any great Third Act is always the health and fitness of our bodies. The more attentive people are to staying on top of their body’s strength, the more life choices are available to explore. My father taught me this lesson when I was 40 years young and living forever. Daddy was a lifelong workaholic, taking no time for friends, family, or fun until the day he received the diagnosis that would end his life. The life alarm clock went off and there was no way to stop the ringing for the next three months. In his time left, everything changed, priorities shifted, and regrets were slowly addressed. I promised myself to take a good look at my life, bringing it into more balance, amending my genetic inheritance of worker bee! Ten years ago, I took a senior fitness certification, which began by making a wild statement about the new seniors of today, and how we, as trainers, need to shift our thinking as well. “Boomers of today refuse to age, refuse to get sick and refuse to die.” At the time, I thought this statement was pretty outrageous. Looking back, I see these words were figurative and not literal. We now can absolutely view growing older in a completely different way than our parents and grandparents by staying as fit as possible, catching our aging language as quickly as possible, learning something new every day, and living in a willingness to explore new ideas.
In San Miguel de Allende, we have lots of opportunities to create our peer group, choosing friends who are actively expanding their creativity and taking time for strong social ties. During our Third Act (the last three decades), it is vitally important to surround ourselves with people who are on a similar journey. Fortunately, we live in a place with a long tradition of being physically active, staying involved and taking time to learn new things. Lucky you live San Miguel! (as I used to say in Hawaii.)
Janis McDonald, Certified Professional Coach, Functional Aging Trainer, Private Gym-152 0457. Follow the Live Like You Can Blog! Go to: www.livelikeyoucan.com.