Obviously, it was fortunate that we were born so close together in years, don't you agree? The darling woman said something very sweetly innocent yesterday which sort of echos through my psyche. She said, in part,
"I am glad I am not in your profession. I would just never make it with all of the hard work on and attention to personal appearance."
Well, yes, there's that. She spoke in reference to some extra attention I am giving to nutrition and exercise right now, after taking a somewhat more relaxed attitude toward food for the last several months.
She's not the first person to comment on the superficial demands of the television news industry. Sometime back, a close girlfriend said...
"Wouldn't you like to not have to focus so much effort on working out just for the camera?"
And a male friend who once asked...
"So when are you going to just let go, Marti, and stop working out and just let yourself go?"These questions don't offend me at all. Okay, yes, the second one sorta... made me shiver. But they're actually sort of flattering with the implications that the results of my efforts are noticed, even if the efforts themselves (including being unwilling to forego a workout to attend ice cream parties more conveniently) aren't particularly appreciated. The truth is that being in television journalism has forced me to be cognizant of my appearance, but also provided exposure to the best, most up-to-date information and experts on nutrition, exercise, fitness and other health issues. I've had literally thousands of dollars in health consultations as a part of work and reporting over the years. Some of it was bound to sink in, wouldn't you think?
And let me state in my defense, it's not all about the camera. It's about my inner workings. It's about how I feel about myself. Admittedly, it does take a huge amount of confidence to pursue an on-camera career in television news (or an even larger helping of insecurities). And in spite of admitting to an immense vanity in the past, I will say these days, it's not about the camera.
It's about something more important. It's about how I physically feel. I'm determined that my life is going to be good. In fact, to re-jigger a 1970's coffee company's slogan for my own use, it's going to be good to the last drop, er, moment.
The sweet niece posted the following hand-drawn cartoon (see, I told you she is talented!) on her blog today.
I wish I could even think of running a marathon, but as it happens, I dislocated one particular joint in the buttocks area so many times that I'm grateful to be able to scurry across a parking lot. I have to confine my cardiovascular fitness efforts to an elliptical machine in a condominium complex workout center. Even then, sometimes it can all seem a bit overwhelming.
But again, it has to be done. Why? Because my body needs the benefit of every bit of nourishing oxygen and nutrients that I consumed that morning or the night before to be carried further and faster by the blood rush of a good workout. I need to feel the strenuous, sweat-gland-flushing hour-long pushing of pedals. I need to push myself and I need all that salt (that I still love to put on everything that goes in my mouth) pushed out of my body. I need an hour of meditation and reading a good book and singing along to whatever album my iPod provides. And heaven knows, I need the endorphins.
How do you get your body operating at maximum levels unless you get up and move around and encourage all the cells to function at their peak levels at least 5-6 times per week? I don't have any idea or the desire to find out. I think finding out would mean a life lived at such a smaller heartrate that my tiny rock-hard ticker can't even conceive of it. And doesn't want to.
And it's not just workouts. It's work. I want my mind engaged, too. I believe the resulting increased heartrate is beneficial in terms of getting the blood circulating into my brain. One of these days, I'm going to pull out crossword puzzles and start on those. I've always avoided them, but one day soon, you'll open your mailbox, friends, and find that I no longer send out those clever and intentionally somewhat offensive holiday greetings but Christmas Crosswords to get both our cranial areas functioning more fully.
So yes, I'm staying in the race. I'm in it all the way to the end. The niece is, too... even if I have to "tough love" nag her every step of the way.
(Disclaimer: I intend to live to 85. At age 84.5, I will abruptly stop exercising and start consuming dessert and lots of it. Please drop by for pie. Anytime.)