Lessons Learned and Aging

Have you ever been asked your age only to hear this: you look good, though? Look good, really? Look good for what? Look good compared to whom? What does this really mean?

Well, I know it’s mortifying to many. Some of my friends can go into hissy-fits, some can get depressed and some of them just lie about their age!!! I am sure you belong to one of these groups. Or you could be one of those free spirits to whom age is just a number and you don’t care.

Since I let my hair go grey, I have not been asked my age very often. I guess everyone thinks I am just old!!! When it comes to this subject, life becomes complicated. Society has conditioned people, especially women, to strive for a youthful look. To keep looking young well into their middle-age is a goal for most of the women I know. Many of them go to great lengths to keep up an appearance of youth. Sad. We can try to change our look, but our body is still whatever age we really are. Period.

Do not get me wrong…I like to look good too. I want to feel attractive and strive to always look my best. There is no question about that. Just letting go of everything is not my idea of aging either. There is the fact that keeping healthy, active and focused on our well-being is a priority, regardless of how you feel about aging.

Now, let’s get down to reality. Studies conducted on older women have discovered certain attitudes that will bring a healthier, relaxed and positive lifestyle to anyone as we age. Most of these studies included women in the 80s, 90s and even 100s. The findings are amazing and we must share them.

First: Good posture is essential. We should strive for vertical balance. To help us along, walking is the best exercise. Try doing it everyday. I certainly know this, walking has been part of my routine for years. It is an excellent aerobic workout and gives you the chance to be outdoors enjoying nature!!! Dance when you listen to music, let go of those inhibitions…..it releases Cortisol, lowers your stress levels. Besides, it keeps you limber!!!

Second: Stay in the present. We can reminisce and enjoy our memories, but it is absolutely unnecessary to live in the past. Our future will not be as long as we want, even if we live to be 100. The present is where we live. This means becoming engaged, learning new things: listen to new music artists, learn a new language, watch new movies, get involved in social media!!!

Third: Love yourself. Love how you look, how you move, how you feel. Accept  yourself, but keep improving as much as possible. It is never too late to start taking care of your body, your health, your mind. Let go of perfect, it doesn’t exist. Cultivate a positive attitude that will lead to resetting your inner clock, making you feel years younger!!!

Fourth: Get in touch with your feelings and emotions. We forget this when we feel sick or under the weather. Find the cause of what ails you. Pay attention to how you feel. Meditate and listen to your body. Your brain is so powerful, it connects your feelings and emotions to your physical welfare. Use it to make you feel better!!!

Fifth: Savor the good in your life. Trust your instincts and defend what matters most to you. Be compassionate, starting with yourself. Enjoy and savor every experience be it a play, a book, a song, a glass of wine or a fine meal. You do not need anyone’s approval, you don’t need to please anyone but yourself….enjoy this time!!!

Gloria Steinem said once: “Women over 50 are a country to which this youth-obsessed culture has few guides“. Indeed, so it is up to us to gather the knowledge that is out there and use it to improve our lives now.  Age is liberating, we can say and think and do what we want. Make it so!!! We must not let the world tell us that we are now pass our prime, ready to put out to pasture, no longer attractive……..Aging is a right of passage just like others we have successfully lived through. It just happens that this time, we are prepared and ready!!!

You Can’t Dance and Stay Uptight!!!

Remember that line? it’s from: Dancing in the Moonlight by King Harvest. It was just a feel good song and with a catchy tune. They never had other hit as big, but many of us still remember it. I was in college in Boston…..1972.

Today I woke up with it on my mind and on the tip of my tongue. So I decided to dance around. I know I sound a bit crazy, but I simply had to. Why not? Once a year we get a special day, all our own: our birthday!!! This is the time to just enjoy what has been given to us, count our blessings and give thanks. I know we are told to do this every day, but we don’t. At least, I don’t as often as I should. So on my birthday I will.

I am most thankful for my family: Frankie, Frank and Camille. They make my life complete with their love and support. My sisters and our mother who known me so well and love me anyway. My friends that are there for me and go along with my moods and my eccentricities. Each and everyone of you, thank you for being part of my life!!!

I am thankful for everything that I have learned, for what I am still learning and for the chance to share it all. It is an amazing feeling to be able to express my inner thoughts and see that people appreciate my efforts.

I am thankful for the years I have lived and the experiences I have had. I am who I am because of them. Each and every day, I have learned something and have been given something to be thankful for.

That is why, I have danced and hope to do so for many years to come. Dancing does indeed make you forget your worries, concentrate on the good things and make you realize that dancing is good for your soul because what the song says is true: you can’t dance and stay uptight!!!

 

Martes de Carnaval

10364019_10152138539472475_396364405222684892_n10314678_10152138544192475_7373123781352521932_nHere are some new images of what Carnaval in Las Tablas really is all about. The last day of celebrations, before Lent sets in and the season of penance starts, is one to be enjoyed by one and all. At least, that is the philosophy in this small colonial city. If you are religious or not is irrelevant and I suspect most people are not. Still, it’s a tradition and nobody wants to miss this: from spending your day in the plaza to watching the fireworks that end the celebration. A breathtaking show!!

Thousands and thousands of people take to the streets. Ash Wednesday is a working day, so they feel obliged to dance, drink and enjoy to the last minute! It is truly amazing. This year the sun was shinning, it was very hot, not a cloud in the sky. The cistern tanks were working overtime so nobody was complaining!

1238974_10152138541617475_8384597598960746925_n10300324_10152138539102475_4343786582105964075_nThe queens come out in their floats all dolled up. How can they dance, keep smiling and stand for so long is a mystery to me. I am sure they receive training from professionals!!! Just looking at them makes me exhausted, remember this is the fourth day of long hours, little sleep and no privacy!! I have to admit, they seem to be having the time of their lives. Or is it that these are their fifteen minutes of Fame? For whatever reasons, hats off to these young women!!

All this is the First Act, the preparation for what comes later in the day. This the day to display Panamá’s National dress or costume, called Pollera. It requires infinite hours of labor, it’s done by hand and cost a pretty penny. The lace is handmade as well. Everything is regulated: the way it is ironed and the way you are supposed to wear it: what comes with it, how many chains, bracelets, what earrings, which flowers (called tembleques) you need, how many gold combs in your hair, what kind of shoes. It’s a never-ending list, but women all want one, which I have to say I never did or ever will!!! Still is de rigueur to have one these days in Panamá. Martes de Carnaval is the perfect day to show off yours and many women do. The queens come out in very simple floats so these works of art can be displayed to every advantage. ENJOY!!!!!

Thanks again to Pancho for the photos. José Domingo didn’t win…….maybe 2019?

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