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Aged (Like a fine Wine)

It took me five months to recuperate from hernia surgery last year. I’ve had to change my grip due to an unexplainable sprain in my left wrist though I’m right-handed. I landed hard on my right foot during class, and six weeks later still can’t use the treadmill without consequences. 

My butt sags, and my waist is thick. My eyes are not bright anymore, and my skin lacks elasticity. 

And yet, no matter what, I AM an athlete. I wake up every morning not sure if I am aching from arthritis or my last workout.  I go to the gym to work around all my aches, pains, and disabilities. I change my grip to spare my wrist and do the recumbent bike to spare my feet. I work out smarter, not harder. And I make it through.

I am well aware that every year I decide to compete might be my last. Mustering the energy and focus to prep for a show is hard for any competitor. But when you are closer to 60 than to 50, it’s a whole other world of pain. However, most of what we consider aging is a matter of lifestyle we choose. You can grow old and be in control of growing old.

I remind myself that I have one thing over any competitor decades younger than me. Being in my 50s means I am fully myself and entirely unapologetic for being myself. So, when I finally get on stage, I strut. I know I have been doing this longer than most of my fellow competitors have been alive, which gives me the courage to feel like I can do any damn thing I want to do.

Step aside. Mama is coming through. Don’t let the gray hairs confuse you. I’m here to win. Just like you.