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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Senior Momentum ~ Swim Swam Swum!

Recently, my sis (she’s 78) and I were reminiscing about the things we swore we would never do when we got, you know, old. (… it was back then, when we were oh-so-wise in those tender late teens and early 20’s.)

Among the vows -- about which we were a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y sure -- was the age beyond which we “wouldn’t be caught dead” in public in a bathing suit!

Well, time and realities tend to catch up with youthful vows and cold, harsh judgments. That line in the sand gets blurred. Bathing suits. Yeah. Right up there with cellulite, saggy upper arms and other gifts of time … what a dilemma it can be when the temperature soars, or your health demands solutions!

And … once upon a time, there I was, on the spot.

Fat lady in the pool! Yes. That was me; and what a challenge...

It’s one thing if you have a pool! It is another matter if you have to “go public.”

First, there was the discussion of the facts with dear, young, skinny Dr. K: your weight is climbing (duh); you can’t do the three-mile-a-day walk anymore (bum knee); some meds cause weight gain; high cholesterol; high blood pressure; you need a new approach; try water.

Answer: Fat lady into the pool! The right answer, but it has a lot of angles.

If you’re just a few pounds over, if you’re “fit enough” and just want to keep it that way, or if you’ve been a “club junkie” for years -- well, you probably won’t understand this dilemma!

First, there’s the “Club Tour”. Everywhere there are GREAT looking people doing bizarre and dedicated things on or with a variety of intriguing machines. They are intense -- pedaling, lifting, grunting, running, sweating. Not smiling.

Towels and water bottles and posters of achievement are everywhere. It seems there are a hundred forms of physical discipline (and torture) available as part of your Membership. The guide points out I am “... in the best possible place” to achieve my goals!

Next is the Women’s Locker Room -- a very busy place -- with (mostly) young hard bodies either getting-ready-to-workout, or getting-ready-to-meet-their-day!

Dryers hummm, the sauna bakes, the steam room sizzles, mirrors abound, and a huge scale sits exactly where no “larger” woman would ever drop the towel and step aboard. Great.

I spot the door to the Exercise Pool; really need to know how many steps it is from that door to the water. (The walk I have to do -- in a bathing suit -- something I haven’t worn public since my slender body betrayed me in my 50’s and became my mother’s.)

Well, it is 31 steps to the water. I’m a grown-up. I’m a professional businesswoman. I’m in tune with my priorities. I can do this. Sure I can. Blah. Blah. Blah.

Well, I signed up, put on the suit, avoided the mirrors. I walk the 31 steps, drop the towel-as-big-as-a-sheet, and carefully get into The Pool, often.

Believe me, it takes personal courage to get past some vanity we didn’t know was so big, and just get over ourselves.

In the pool -- pounds down, and counting! Have I betrayed the youthful vow my sis and I made oh so many naive years ago? Well, not exactly! It’s been easier for her anyway – she’s still slim! I have had to be innovative and add a few new twists: black tights, a gorgeous pool robe to drop at the last minute, and new dimensions for my sense of humor!

Beauty isn’t just in the eye of the beholder, it’s also about our own inner eye and sense of self. I swim, I swam, I swum!

Zoë Tummillo is a Business & Marketing Consultant/Trainer/Commercial Writer, dba COMMUNICATION CONCEPTS, in private practice since 1974. In addition to Commercial work, she writes “Senior Momentum: A Series of Situations”; and essay memoirs of growing up first generation Italian American: “Pieces of My Path”. To contact her, email or Phone 707-869-1726

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