Friday, September 2, 2011

At OUR Age....

Chatty. That's how I'd describe the woman who followed me into yoga class. Bubbly and chatty.

Had I been to yoga before? She didn't recognize me. Nope, first time.

Was I a new member? She didn't recall seeing me at the club. Yes, new member.

Why didn't I grab a mat and set up shop right next to her? She didn't want to be in the front row by herself. Ok. Like I wanted to be there with her.

I saw no way out, so I hoisted a mat off the pile and plopped down next to the talker.

I feigned elaborate stretching to fend off more conversation. Didn't work. I honestly think the woman hadn't spoken to another person all day. The words gushed out of her mouth like a broken water line. I thought of the cartoons where the master speaks and the dog only hears blahblahblah. I nearly barked in response to her endless patter.

She was quick to point out that I probably wouldn't be able to perform all the moves. "I've been coming to class for two years and I still can't do a lot of this stuff. Of course, (she added in a conspiratorial way), at OUR age, no one would expect us to…."

At OUR age? What? I stretched harder and threw in a grunt to punctuate my efforts.

Soon another woman joined our row, slapping down a purplish mat, making ours a solid row of the rich hue. This prompted the talker to recite "When I am old, I will wear purple…." in a sing-songy voice. I was half expecting a suggestion that we forego yoga, don red hats, and go to a buffet. Ye gods.

I bit my lip to repress a rebuke and put my nose to my knees. "Oh look at you," she exclaimed. "Show off!!!"

Mercifully the class began, proving to be a challenge and a refreshing change from my normal routine of tennis, walking and farm work. Ever the active exerciser, the “sitting still and breathing” thing caused initial squirming but I powered through and actually enjoyed the experience. Eventually I was able to focus on the physicality of the practice and surprisingly, finished the class with minimal struggle and no farting (which, by the way, was a looming concern).

Last meditative moment complete, I scampered to my feet, tossed the gym mat on the pile and broke for the door, trying desperately to avoid any further interaction with the talker. No luck.

"Soooo, how did it go? Will you be coming back? It looked like you were doing okay, that's really good for the first time. Have you ever tried Pilates? I like yoga much better. I don't know about you," her torrent of words continued, "but Pilates bothered my back. You know at OUR age, we just don't have the core strength to…"

I cut her off. I couldn't help myself. Wouldn't let her get away with any more "at OUR age" references and I certainly wasn't about to be lumped into that category of folks like her who believe one becomes so much less capable with age or use it as an excuse to overeat, under exercise or, as my beloved mother would say, go to pot.

"I have plenty of core strength," I blurted, a little too quickly. "What I need is more flexibility to enhance my tennis game…I play four or five times a week….and I have to stay limber to keep up with all the physical work I do around my farm…"

For once, the talker was speechless. She lumbered away.

I could have been nicer. In retrospect, I realize that, but I simply wasn't willing to validate her need to blame age for whatever ailed her. Menopause and middle age don't need to be an excuse to give up. At OUR age, we should be pushing the limits, exploring the boundaries and celebrating what we CAN do….even if it means we might occasionally fart in public.

Story by Cheryl Hansen


  1. Love it! I definitely agree that as we approach middle age we need to explore the boundaries of what we CAN do.

  2. I agree. I'm looking forward to 40 in a few years. 40 is the new 30, right? Bring it.


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