Our Changing Bodies
I’ve been thinking a lot about my body lately. And not just the usual must-do-more _______ (fill in the blank with any of the following: sit-ups, core training, aerobic exercise, weights), or hair maintenance issues (getting it cut/colored, plucking eyebrows, shaving legs), or even fancying up efforts (putting on makeup, blowdrying hair, finding something to wear other than my usual comfy jeans and a t-shirt). And this despite, as most of my friends would attest, definitely being on the low maintenance side of things. No, I’ve been thinking about my body as it ages.
I remember periods of my life when I’ve felt invincible. Rollerskating, biking, and running around as a child. Winning swimming competitions in high school. Hiking into (not out of!) Havasupai. Walking all around Paris. My body felt strong and powerful, as if that was the way it should be forever and ever. I still occassionally get these flashes, though they’re fewer and farther between, now that I’m closer to 30 than 40. And nowadays, when my mother offers me some of the most recent wrinkle cream that she got on sale or at Costco and is trying, I listen more carefully and gratefully accept, instead of shrugging her off.
Nowadays, I’m trying to get my body in shape for a trip to Nepal. On the itinerary are general touristy things in and around Kathmandu, a visit to do some hiking in Chitwan National Park, three days of trekking in the lowlands, and a week-long humanitarian aid project with Singular Humanitarian Experience. Yes, it sounds exciting. And it will be. But I scaled back the trekking from a two week trek to the Annapurna Sanctuary when I had a wake-up call while hiking in Yosemite earlier this year. Not only am I getting older and slower, but I live at sea level, which makes the air feel particularly thin everywhere else.
A woman’s body (and man’s, no doubt), go through so many changes. Infancy and childhood, with their amazing physical leaps and bounds. Menstruation and puberty. Growth and fulfilment. Monthly cycles. Pregnancy, childbirth and lactation for some. Injury and disease. Aging. Wrinkles and age spots. Menopause. Physical decline. Death. And yet, there’s something to be said for old-er age. Maybe, instead of mourning my 20’s, I should be looking forward to my fifties?
The fact is, life just seems to get better with time. Sure, sometimes I focus a little too much on those age-old high school issues … popularity, the IN thing, looking good, dating, etc … but most of the time I’m just enjoying life and re/discovering things to be enthusiastic about. Family. Friends. Career satisfaction. Church and spiritual matters. Travel. Dancing. Learning new things. I’m coming to terms with my changing body and life. Those grey hairs I’ve had since my teens are bothering me less and less …
Sometimes I wonder what my body will look like in the eternities. Will I assume the form I had when I died? Will I be able to choose what “age” my resurrected body will take? Will there even be aging in the eternities? Or will everyone assume the form of their strongest and best body? I don’t actually have any answers, but I am comforted by the fact that my body will be made whole. I look forward to having perfect vision, not being plagued by a bad knee, and all the other things I will be glad to leave behind in my mortal body. I look forward to having an immortal body that’s been made whole and perfected.
What about you? Have you any stories to share? Bodily experiences that horrified at the time but now make you laugh? Current experiences you’re having trouble with? Wisdom you’d like to impart? Questions about something you foresee in the future?