“I can’t believe Eve Grzybowski is 70. She’s a walking advertisement for the benefits of yoga to combat ageing.”
When I read the above Facebook comment, which is obviously meant to be a compliment, I smiled. It brought up images of me in battle gear, all manner of weapons in hand, throwing myself against the cruel onslaught of Time.
Nothing could be further from the truth. My seventy years have shown me that time marches inevitably foreward. Fighting its effects, I’ve noticed, is not only futile but exhausting.
BTW, I don’t do yoga to thwart ageing. I do it because I love it. Does yoga keep me youthful? Possibly. But staying in good nick could also be due to my genes, my physicality, eating and drinking moderately, enjoying sex, social interaction with my community, studying and learning. Maybe even grace. How does a person ever know?
Time has given me facial lines, saggy bits, thinning and greying hair, presbyopia, sun spots, and most of the usual symptoms of advancing years. I could struggle against these but it’s an expensive proposition. I’d rather spend my money on travel – while I still can.
Time has also served up goodies for me. These are just a few:
- a better sense of humour
- ability to be intimate
- nuances of communication
- wisdom gained from learning the hard way
- deeply loving friendships
- a felicitous 43-year relationship with yoga
- smile lines
- teaching skills, knowledge, and experience
- and most of all, an inner knowing about what really matters
Last week, a host of friends and I celebrated my 70th birthday. We partied from Friday night dinner to the big party on Sunday afternoon. I discovered I had stamina for eating, drinking, dancing and socialising that I hadn’t tapped into for a long time.
(Perhaps not giving all my energy to warding off old age frees up more energy for partying.)
My heart is so full from the all the gifts – tangible and intangible – that I received on the occasion of turning 70. I feel buoyed by the opportunities long life has given me to love people through the vehicle of yoga. I also feel overwhelmed and occasionally rather undeserving from the inflow of love that I continuously receive.
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, has summed up my sentiments:
In the end though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity, and to just keep saying thank you forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.