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The New Thirty

by Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
I read recently that forty is the new thirty. Probably written by someone who just turned forty and is still trying to figure out a way that it is not so bad. But I have decided to believe it. And if I am going to believe it, I have to start acting my age. Thirty. New Thirty. And that means that I need to get busy. I might be in fairly good shape for a forty year old, but who wants to be a New Thirty who looks forty? Not me.

Now, please stop rolling your eyes. I know that at least once a year I write a column about how I am really and truly going to get into shape. And it's not like I don't do anything about it. Every single month I pay my health club dues. Without fail. Is it my fault that time just melts away like, like something. . . melty? It is not. I bought an Abo-Tizorlatorevaporator last year. And I used it. I still use it. At this very moment I am using it for a very nice suitcase stand (NO! I have not put my suitcase away yet! It's on my list).

But this whole New Thirty idea absolutely filled me up with enthusiasm! It was time to get the lead out. My daughter recommended running. I laughed. That bitter laugh I do so well. "Don't laugh like that Mom. It scares me. You can do it. Just sprint a little and then walk a little. It'll be great."

I got up early the next morning, determined to keep at it until I could do it. Why not? Thirty is not too old to run. Ah! Fresh morning air! Dew sparkling, birds twittering. I sprinted. My feet had wings! I should have tried this years ago! I sprinted on, my eyes set on the far horizon. I began to wheeze and could feel my heartbeat in my head. Push, push, push, that second wind would kick in soon. Go, go, go. I made it all the way to the end of the driveway. I decided running was not for me. Bad for the knees. Risk of shin splints. Besides, I am apparently a bouncy runner and the ember on my cigarette kept falling off.

I decided I might do better with something low impact. My other daughter (I'm not asking Running Daughter for advice anymore. She thinks a slice of chocolate cake should weigh 3 ounces and be an occasional treat. I should have known not to ask her.) suggested Yoga. She is a peaceful girl. Stress free. Talented. Intuitive. Thin as a rail. She taught me a few basic poses and lent me a book. I started out with The Lotus. I mean I tried to. But I couldn't sit cobbler style with my feet on top of my knees when I was five, why should I think that I could do it when I was for - er - thirty? I moved on. The poses are beautiful and have wonderful names. The Plough. The Cobra. Salutation to the Moon. Half Lord of the Fishes.

She called the other day to see how I was progressing. I quickly swallowed the three ounce bite of chocolate cake in my mouth, rinsed it down with some nice healthy Yoohoo (what? It has vitamins!) and answered her. "I had to give Yoga up, honey, but I sure do appreciate you trying to help me. Why? Well, you see I tried, I really did. But I was Greeting the Sun when I heard the telephone ring. I did something funny, flopped like a Fish choking on a Locust and Ploughed right into the Pathetic Thirty Year Old Entangled in Her Own Thighs. I think I sprained my chakra. Are you laughing at me? Did I ever tell you that I nearly died giving birth to you? That many times? You're exaggerating. I have to go. To the gym. No, I'm not eating. Currently."

There's an upside to all this. I have been giving some things a lot of thought. And I want to share. Because I care about you. Just think with me for a minute: Muscle weighs more than fat. Fat is more compressible than muscle. Marilyn Monroe was a great beauty. Marilyn wore a size fourteen. If forty can be the New Thirty, is it so impossible to think that a size fourteen could be the New Size Eight? Is that so crazy? I think not.
Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
"The Girl Detective's Theory of Everything" - June 1, 2006 Column
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