It was March of 2005, I was in Costa Rica with my then husband, our daughter and Costa Rican son in law. It was my first visit to this paradise country and my daughter was anxious to take us to a secluded beach where they had spent part of their honeymoon several years back. As our rented Jeep wound around a sharp curve in the road, there it was, a pristine marvel of white sand dotted with amazing palm trees with large branches that would provide a shady respite from the glaring sun.
As we unloaded the car I began to panic, I didn’t see any beach chairs or benches on this deserted beach and I knew we didn’t have any in the rental car. I turned to my daughter and said “where will we sit”, she replied, “on the sand”, oh crap….I knew if I sat on the sand, I didn’t have the core strength to get myself back up again. My daughter sensed my panic and asked her husband and father to run back to town and find a couple of beach chairs. They returned a short time later with chairs in hand and we were able to enjoy some time on that beautiful beach in Costa Rica,
For many years I blamed my fitness limitations on my bilateral hip replacements and carrying around way too many pounds. And as I aged, I had a new excuse to throw into the mix, I was getting old….old people don’t sit on beaches, old people aren’t expected to be fit and beautiful and on and on…and in many ways I had just given up on myself, my self esteem had left the house with the door slamming in it’s wake.
A few weeks after returning from Costa Rica my husband and I parted ways and after 33 years of marriage began divorce proceedings. To everyone who has ever been through the whirlwind or the more accurate description, shit storm, of divorce, one of the offsetting benefits can be the loss of weight, and in my case my divorce diet netted me a 40 pound loss. With the weight loss and the new found freedom for the first time in my life I put myself first. Like that George Strait song “She Let herself Go”, I went to NYC, to Las Vegas, and even to the beaches in Mexico and began to live life through a new lens.
Part of the new lens was regaining my physical strength, I knew I’d never run a marathon like one of my daughters, but perhaps I could ride my bike for a few miles or walk for an hour on the rail trail, or utilize the hotel gym when I traveled for business. all small steps toward a healthier lifestyle.
Eventually I married an awesome guy who is the healthiest person I’ve ever met. While dating, we spent lots of time biking and hiking together and he introduced me to the concept of gentle yoga. After retirement I began yoga classes, beginning with one class a week and now 3 weekly classes. There are so many healthy benefits of yoga, the core work, the balancing flows and the peace of shavasana, the restful, mindful, delicious part of just being at the end of each yoga session.
So this past week on vacation on South Carolina during a 6 mile walk out to a breakfront on the beach I managed to sit in the sand to take a break and on my way back up to standing managed a few downward facing dogs and a plank. Life is good and being healthy is the best gift we can give ourselves even if we’re old..