As Tina has written in “Before the Journey: Self-Assessment,” becoming Fine After 50 and remaining Fine After 50 is a journey that should be preceded by an honest evaluation of where you are right now physically, mentally, and spiritually. Just as you wouldn’t set out on a long trip without considering what you need to bring with you and what you’d be better off leaving behind, so you shouldn’t embark on a quest to improve body, mind and spirit without assessing where you are right now and how far you can reasonably expect to go.
Let’s face it — we all begin to accumulate physical limitations as we get older. The human body doesn’t last forever. It inevitably begins to slow down and wear out. For some, physical limitations may begin developing as early as age 30; for others, they may not become noticeable until after age 50. But try as we might, we cannot eliminate the inevitable aging process.
One of the most difficult things for us to do (guys especially) is to accept the physical deterioration that begins to occur in our bodies as we get older. We’d rather live in denial of the obvious, and instead try to continue doing the things we were able to do easily when we were 20 or 30 years younger — or even 10 years younger! But this isn’t realistic. Denying what is happening to our physical bodies will lead to frustration as we continually experience failure while trying to maintain the schedule and lifestyle that we were able to maintain when we were younger.
On the other hand, an opposite reaction that some of us may have as we begin slowing down and wearing out is to give up completely and not even attempt to exercise and stay in shape, since it becomes more difficult to do the older we get. We become increasingly discouraged and depressed.
Neither an attitude of denial nor an attitude of defeatism is helpful. Instead, we need to recognize and accept the physical limitations that are taking place in our bodies, analyze and rethink what the possibilities are for improving or maintaining our current physical condition, and then learn to manage our expectations going forward so that we neither ignore the changes that are taking place nor give up all hope of ever being Fine After 50.
We will talk more about accepting limitations and managing expectations in future articles.