Our parents did their best to mold us into worthwhile adults: “Sit square in your chair.” “Quit mumbling.” “Deliberately burping at the dinner table is not funny.”
Teachers were equally rigorous: “Use your inside voice.” “Tell Mrs. Murphy thanks.” “Stop eating the paste.”
But despite their combined vigilance, by the time we were old enough to legally sit in a bar, most of us still resembled unformed lumps of dough, not knowing if we wanted to be pretzels, cinnamon rolls, or sesame seed bread.
Even in our forties, buying houses and molding our own children, we were only half-baked; and we still had plenty of time to determine the habits, attitudes, and abilities we would take into old age.
I spent too much time practicing to be a pretzel—literally. Mom badgered me to quit slouching around the house. In high school, I slumped to match the height of my handsome, but shorter, boyfriend. As an adult, my aerobics instructor admonished her middle-aged, weary students to suck our abs in, tuck our butts under, pull our shoulders back, and stand proud — all while leaping about to the soundtrack from Flashdance.
Then at age 68, sciatica drove me to a physical therapist. Mincing no words, he said my problem was sloppy posture, and he was the man to fix it. The promise of relief from constant pain motivated me. I committed to doing his prescribed stretches daily, and in a few weeks began to see results.
Yes, you can teach new tricks to an old slouch. I only wish I’d reaped the benefits of improved posture forty years ago, rather than two.
When young, I told my mother that a neighbor seemed like a mean old man. She replied, “I think he may be, and, if so, he was probably a mean young man. Every day of your life, you’re practicing for your old age.”
Have some thoughts
about quirks, habits, or slight imperfections you’d like to reshape before you’re completely baked?
I’d be interested. Please comment below.
What You Had to Say about Aunt Beulah:
Thank you for your interest in my blog and your supportive comments; you made my day. Below is a quick recap of those who responded to the story of Aunt Beulah.
1500 Days, an insightful blog about financial preparedness, agreed that flossing makes a difference—as does “quitting Mountain Dew.” One respondent believes we all have an Aunt Beulah, and hers was Juna Mae, a lady who “danced like no one was looking.” Another discussed the funny and frustrating communication issues aging spouses encounter when they lose their hearing. My sister, Barbara, hopes her home is like her memories of our aunt’s home: “a little crazy, no one leaves hungry, and always something of interest.”
By email, a reader remembered her first car, named Beulah, which she treasured for its comfortable size, safety, and trustworthiness—traits that described my Aunt Beulah as well; another said he believes living well as we age has a lot to do with how much we sacrifice for, or share, with others when young.
Wow! Wonderful insights and stories. Thank you.
To Read the Complete Comments of Others: Click on the gray, shadowed, apostrophe-like symbol on the right hand side of the post’s title. The comments will magically appear below the post along with a response box if you’d like to add to the conversation.