September 22, 2014
Note: If you are new to this feature of the Support4Change Blog, here are some suggestions for exploring questions for yourself and also for your family and friends.
Three times a week I get in the pool at my retirement community and do aquatic aerobics with a bunch of old women. With the exception of one woman whose genes came wrinkle-free, our bodies sag. We have moles and brown spots. The underside of our upper arms are flabby. I won’t even mention the shape, or lack thereof, of our breasts.
In other words, three times a week I can compare how my body looks and how the bodies of six or so other women look in bathing suits. It ain’t a pretty sight — neither mine nor theirs. However, I am getting better at not comparing myself with others quite so much. It involves an acceptance of the reality of time.
You see, I have often been told that I “look good” for my age; and when I look at many of the women in the pool, I notice that I don’t look as “time worn.” That thought is almost immediately followed with the realization that I am about ten years younger than many of them. So I have this sneaking suspicion that in ten years I will look like them!
By that time, new, and younger, residents will observe my “flaws” and they may be glad they don’t look like me — until the march of time will play its game on their own bodies exposed in bathing suits.
The truth is that the women in the class don’t seem at all uncomfortable with the way they look. Of course, those who aren’t willing to expose their gone-to-seed bodies don’t join the class.
In any case, the class has been good for me because I notice that the ones I like best — even though they would never have won a beauty contest, even in younger years — are intelligent, talented, and have great stories to tell about their experiences around the globe.
After thirty, a body has a mind of its own.
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I had to face the facts, I was pear-shaped. I was a bit depressed because I hate pears.
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So the legs are a little short, the knees maybe knock a little but who listens?
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There are all these ideals about what is perfect and what is beautiful and what is smart, but the most appealing thing is, that which is me is nobody else.
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Explore How You Compare Your Body With The Bodies of Others by Asking Yourself These Questions:
- Even though I know that no one else in the whole world has exactly the same type and size and shape of body as I do, is it difficult for me to appreciate my body as a unique, very special, one-of-a-kind vehicle for getting around? If not, why not? If so, what has allowed me to accept myself as unique?
- What do I expect my body will look like in 10, 20, 30 years or so?
- Would I be willing to get in a pool with only my bathing suit to cover up the march of time? Why or why not?
What have you learned about yourself in exploring these questions that you didn’t realize before?
What have you learned about your friends if they have explored these questions with you?