It all started with a loud sneeze. One minute I was chatting on the phone, and the next I was down on all fours, chanting “ow ow ow OW!” I had never thrown my back out before and I wondered if I would ever get off the floor. From this new perspective, I realized that I could now “keep my ear to the ground” and my “nose to the grindstone” with no effort at all. Eventually, the spasm subsided and I crawled to the bathtub to take a hot bath. A few days later, a physical therapist recommended back exercises for me. Her favorite was “wall-sitting.” Wall-sitting is simply standing with your back to the wall and then bending your knees until you resemble a human chair. Then you stay that way as long as you can. She also recommended a half hour of Pilates. I vowed to wake up early every day to fit all of that in.
The next week I went to the dentist for a check-up. He told me that, at my age, I should brush twice daily, floss, use a Water Pik (like a pressure cleaner for your teeth) at night and then stimulate my gums with a rubber-tip between each tooth, front and back. I vowed to stay awake a half hour later every night so I could fit all of that in.
The next week I went for my annual check-up. My doctor told me that, at my age, I should be doing 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week and also working out with weights to keep up my bone density. He added that if I wanted to remain flexible, I should start doing Yoga. I decided to give up my lunch hour and also wake up an hour earlier on the weekends so I could fit all of that in.
The next week, I went to the dermatologist for a check-up. She told me that, at my age, I should stay out of the sun at all costs and slather myself with sunscreen any time I saw the light of day. So, I bought a case of sunscreen and vowed to spend an extra fifteen minutes getting ready every morning so I could fit that in as well.
After a month of my new routine, I was so sleep-deprived that I started combining things so I could stay in bed longer. I became the “Queen of Efficiency.” I flossed my teeth while I practiced being a human chair; I rubbed sunscreen on while I jogged in place and I stimulated my gums with a rubber pick while holding a Yoga pose of a tree. Instead of lifting weights, I juggled the cans of beans as I was making dinner and carried the dog out of the kitchen. Finally, after I started doing deep knee bends while I brushed my teeth, I found I didn’t have to wake up early anymore. This getting older stuff is totally manageable; I don’t know why everyone complains about it. Excuse me, I feel a sneeze coming on…