It’s a Jungle Out There


I saw a coyote yesterday during my strength and training class at the senior center. There are so many people in the drop-in class that I have to stand right in front of the glass doors, with a view of the hills filled with wild turkeys, birds, and now Wiley Coyote.

My back hurts more than usual from dancing, exercise, and throwing the ball twenty times each to two dogs every day.  None of this would’ve bothered me two years ago. But then I became a caregiver for my sister.

Last year I‘d go to Zumba class, and when the funky instructor would show us how to shimmy our shoulders during a dance, mine were stuck, locked up from moving Sis up and down the hallways, to and from the bathroom, chair, table, or bed. The teacher drives all the way from Richmond to show us white and Asian women in San Ramon how to get down on it. Now my shoulders move again, but my back is weak. Literally. Having Osteopenia, the thinning of bones before getting Osteoporosis, is no fun.

Weight bearing exercise is what the doctor prescribed after my bone density scan showed the osteopenia in my low back. Dancing, hiking, walking and lifting weights are good. Cycling and swimming don’t count.  There are prescription supplements out there, but they have bad side effects over time. Crumbling Jaw Syndrome is not something I’d care to develop. So I eat my Tums (for calcium), try to eat salmon once a week, broccoli or leafy greens every day, and keep on dancing.

Keep moving.

Motion is lotion.

I’ve heard it over and over again.  It’s been easy to do it up till recently. I am losing strength, especially in my hands. Jars and shrink wrap packages are harder to open.

Getting old sucks. But then again, it beats the alternative. I will try not to bitch. I will try to act younger and not wear frumpy clothes. Matronly, my senior friend calls it. As in, it looks too matronly, so she won’t buy it. On the other hand, I will not dress up as a French maid on Halloween when I am 75. Yes, it has happened.

I discovered a new band last night. I was on a date, the music was playing in the next room, and the guy wouldn’t stop talking. Finally I said, “Let’s dance!”  So we went onto the floor and he spun me around for a couple of songs.

He clearly wanted to talk. I wanted to dance. His feet hurt. He’s eight years older. I am beginning to see my future.  I either need to start dating younger guys or need to learn how to sit there and be an attentive listener while the inviting beat in the next room keeps calling my name.

I guess I’m lucky I still get asked out and that I have a bunch of crazy girlfriends.

The sun is shining, and it’s a beautiful day.  I am ready to get out there and forge today’s trail.

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