“You have an amazing body,” a complete stranger said to me last night as I sat in our local bookstore listening to an author give a reading. Okay, I did have a moment of schoolgirl giddiness to hear an opening line I haven’t heard since I was in my 20’s. However, my response was curt: “Thank you,” I replied sounding strangely like a PE instructor, “I work at it every, single day.” “Well, it sure shows,” he gushed, as he stared long and hard at the full length of my anatomy.
As I sat there trying to keep my attention on the speaker, I wondered what on earth about me had caused him to say that. I wasn’t wearing anything provocative, simply Bermuda shorts and a T-shirt. Truth is, I didn’t even have an ‘amazing body’ in my 20’s. I had then what I do now: a small-headed, long-necked, flat-chested, short-waisted, knock-kneed and pigeon-toed one. The only difference is that all of it has now shifted a bit south and gone surreptitiously slack.
Of course, it has had 40 years to get the way and I have put it through labyrinthian gyrations in the process. I suppose it began with those awkward gymnastic stunts in high school like doing the splits on the balance beam. Then there were hours of wild dancing and limbo contests in night clubs. This would later segue into dirt races on my motorcycle and culminate with a series of sky diving escapades in college. Oops. I almost forgot the broken collarbone in that car crash, a series of sprained ankles and now arthritic knees which doctors say I still need to replace.
After two pregnancies and 6 solid years of nursing things toned down a bit. Although there was a spate of 6-mile a day jogging, ridiculous step-classes done to pumping music and that time I was thrown off a gym treadmill backwards and stuck against a wall while the moving belt continued to lacerate my knees. I’m sure that I am leaving something out here but you get the picture.
These days I can still do a cartwheel, handstands against a wall, hot yoga, swim and play doubles with gals my age—but not all in one day! Come to think of it, I DO have an amazing body! It still gets me around. I’m still breathing and above all, I am grateful to still be in it!!!