What makes the best of us older than we should and can be
Most of us think we know what age is to us; however we miss the most important point. We may know how we feel, what we like or don’t like, what we’d wish for or what we put up with…
Yet the most amazing and simple point that most of us haven’t considered is inside our mind, and that is specifically: What does old looks like to you? How does it move, sound, or feel like? Because our image of what old age is, is our benchmark. It is our target map, the city with which we move around, day in, day out. Let me explain by a story:
The Tango Man
Years ago, I was a professional ballroom dancer. One night I found myself at a dance where I was told that I could work on some Tango steps with the instructor. As it turned out, he and his partner didn’t know anymore than I did and I assumed my night was wasted. That is until the Tango Man showed up…
The Tango Man wasn’t anyone special; he was a bent over, ninety year old man who walked with a cane, as did his bent over eighty-nine year old wife. He had been listening to me unsuccessfully trying to learn these Tango steps. He hobbled over to me and said smiling, “I can show you those steps young man!” Well, I wasn’t about to say no, and he wouldn’t let me slip out without insisting he could show them to me. When I finally agreed, he called his wife over, handed me their canes, walked out on the floor and the most amazing thing happened: He danced like a man half his age! He and his wife straightened right up, danced perfectly, making sure I was watching. And when the song was over, he bent back over, hobbled over to me with his now bent over wife, and I handed them their canes.
You see he knew what a Tango dancer should look like; it was clear in his mind. Sadly he also knew what a ninety year old should look like. So please tell me my dear readers; what does old age look like to you? If you don’t consciously answer this question, whatever image you hold in your subconsciously becomes your map and your body will follow, no questions asked!
Don’t take this lightly; here are two examples. I worked with an eighty-five year old lady, trying to keep her fit, yet she kept telling me, “What do you expect from me? I’m eighty-five; I’m old!” Two years later, she was dead. I worked with another lady, who was eighty five as well, and she had a different attitude. She’d say, “I just don’t understand why I can’t do this, because I know I can. John, show me what to do!” She lived to one hundred and three.
When I lecture in retirement homes, one of my favorite posture exercises is to tell the men to pretend they are James Bond, and that the ladies are wearing large diamond necklaces. I then say, “Men, show me your bow ties! Ladies, show me your diamonds!” And you’ve never seen a group of older tired people become younger within seconds. How’s that for Image? Are you wearing your diamonds or bow-tie?
So here’s what you must do: Sit down and write down what you want your age to look and be like- then read it every day. Pick a movie star for an image. Pick a friend. Don’t be one of those people who sit with their friends bragging about their physical ailments! Get rid of your old maps, read this magazine, read Barbara Morris’s work and many others and live, live, live. Remember, the body will move in a direction with or without your help and the only thing you need to keep in mind is that if you don’t choose the Image for the life you want, the Image you have inside will choose it for you- good or bad… Blessings from the Wizard!
John Paul Ouvrier, is a fitness trainer who specializes in working with older adults. He is the author of ‘The Wizard of Youth’ series for adults and children, the creator of ‘The Wizard of Youth 4 Kids Board Game’ and the Executive Director of Fitness For Charity. His websites are: http://wizardofyouth.com. & http://fitness4charity.org. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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