Ageing is a gradual, continuous process of natural change that begins in early adulthood.. Many of us however live oblivious to this fact until something starts to give. People do not become old or elderly at any specific age, these days age and aging happens at different rates for everyone; a healthy lifestyle can help you feel younger and fitter for longer. Traditionally in the past you were considered ‘old’ at 65, when retirement set in; ergo you were old if you stopped work. Now it seems that ageing is defined not by chronological age but by ability and our change in needs. If you don’t know any songs in the top ten , you take a flask of tea on a day out, you wear glasses around your neck, you always leaving the house with a coat and choose comfort over fashion, and the very unfortunate (but research-proven), your ears are getting bigger, show signs that you are getting on.
It is likely that we have all noticed physical and attitudinal changes in ourselves as we get older. But for us 30, 40, 50 somethings even if your focus is on improving your health and quality of life you might find it hard to really grasp how you have aged. Until that is you try to do a FORWARD ROLL!!!
After roughly 20 years of living happily without doing a forward roll everywhere I go, I was encouraged to try once again. Now I know how to do this, surely? My proprioception, (perception of movement and spatial orientation arising from stimuli within the body itself), was still working, which meant I could give it a go….if I could find the courage. Finally after a few deep breaths I managed, and to my surprise it went fairly well,, a little neck bruising and slightly off course but not bad. Thankfully, and obviously, I am still young and fresh as a daisy.
So to up the ante I thought I’d try a CARTWHEEL…….
After recovering from landing on my bottom, and laughing with my colleague, who I may add had encouraged me but not tried it herself, I realized that I am not exempt from the process of time. Even though my proprioception had not let me down, and I was clear about what to do, I lacked in balance, flexibility and sheer physical strength. Amazingly I thought this would be easy, I could always do so many things with my body and now I was faced with actual ageing and the need to embrace creativity over the precision of my youth.
We know there are serious issues as we approach old age, in that we can run out of time to prepare ourselves to meet the potential physical, mental and financial challenges. What is interesting is the general expectation across age groups that someone in the “older” age bracket will look and behave in a particular way., that is only age specific which others outside the ‘older’ age bracket cannot relate to. After this little ‘experiment’, has turned the clock of time directly towards me and I can see my own age process, I find I am more reverent of age and the elderly. The insignificance of not being able to do a forward roll is not on par with once being able to walk unaided, bathe freely and remember my loved ones names, but it does bring me closer to understanding loss and experiencing physical deterioration.
The moral here is even if you are not losing head hair but gaining it elsewhere, or have not joined the National Trust yet, it does not mean you are not ageing. Go on and try a Forward Roll…….maybe a Cartwheel, and see how your time clock is ticking.