During my 20’s I pumped iron and yearned to have the physique of Greek God, Adonis. There are 563 muscles in my body, and I worked on all of them. How did that Adonis thing go?
Not a success, if you compare me then to now, 60 years later. Passing girls would occasionally take notice, smile, or giggle. Sadly, Adonis’s body now has too many miles on it. They no longer even look up. Despite the gym efforts, I’m destined to follow the downward physical trend. That’s the good news: The alternative sucks.
As youths, we joked about waking up one day in a fraternity of beaten-down old guys at the senior center discussing bowel movements. We could see such withered old shells that have lost all the juice of their lives. They portended nothing good for the physique in old age.
IF THE BODY CAN NO LONGER KEEP UP, BECOME A FORCE!
In contrast to the geriatric center crowd, my sister Vicky is an inspiration, an antidote for aging. She was born a free and adventurous spirit: She never changed. She never allowed life to beat her down, whatever life dished out.
After a ninety-year active life, five children, and dozens of grand kids, she took up skiing. Summer arrived; the snow melted, the slopes closed down. Rather than sit on the sofa watching paint peal, she filled the off-season with bungee jumping. In the process, she’s become the dream of every stressed-out parent: An embarrassment to the kids. Maybe not a Greek Goddess, but neither is she rusting out. You’ll never hear her grumbling about aches, pains, or “organ recitals.”
Augusta is another slightly younger sister, but with the same childlike spirit of adventure in her eighties. In my “Post Adonis” years, I look at Augusta and envy her skill and love of socializing. She’s never seen a social occasion she didn’t love. With fine-tuned social skills and a large house, she’s graduated from party girl to a political force. She entertains politicos with the enthusiasm of a woman one third her age. She mastered the technique of working a room to the point where she can put a smile on every face. All those smiling faces added up to an ambassadorship for her husband. They moved to an embassy in Switzerland, where the two of them continued putting smiles on Swiss faces.
Both sisters inspire this gym rat to look beyond the 562 muscles and bones and focus on a nonmaterial force. I have yet to match my sisters’ level, but then again, neither have I joined the B.M. organ reciting senior center choir.
This old Adonis wannabe trying to get into the perky land of smiles and quotes Abraham Lincoln’s words:
“Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”