I am training (I use that term loosely) to walk the final 100k of the ancient Camino de Santiago trail in April.
This means I am walking four times a week and gradually increasing my mileage.
Though I have been an athlete my entire life this doesn't spare me from age-related aches and pains.
My body is older.
My body is older than it used to be.
So is yours.
So is every living human body on this planet.
I am dealing with it. A compression wrap on my knee, special inserts in my shoes, hiking boots with a wider toe box. A little extra Tylenol. A hot bath at the end of the day. You know the drill.
It is increasingly obvious to me that our culture and especially our advertising world is intent on making us all feel shame for aging.
Remember, shame is all about the idea that somehow we are inherently bad, deficient, faulty, weak, to be despised.
ALL the advertisements at the start of this new year seem to be related to bodies.
How to get a thinner, fitter one. How to FINALLY make ALL THE CHANGES you need to maximize your daily allotment of hours so you can be healthy, hardy and hale. Get up earlier!!! Eat better food!! Do the perfect workout!! Fix your "trouble areas!!" Discipline your pathetic self!!
I am always tempted to bite ...
Shame is a liar.
And shame about our bodies is a super liar.
We age. We sag. We get weak. Things fall apart.
None of which are shameful!
They are the price we pay for the privilege of one more turn around the sun.
So, as I limp around the track, as I hike slowly through the woods, as I sink wearily into the warm bubbles at the end of another glorious day in this gift of an aging body of mine,
I cheer myself on.
I reject shame at every turn.
Shame is a liar.
Shame about bodies is a super liar.
I am walking the Camino de Santiago in 3 months and shame doesn't get to come with me.