This gratitude episode in honor of Thanksgiving weekend is a diversion from for the holiday.
Ten years ago I enjoyed Thanksgiving, without my family, with 1500 new acquaintances at an all-inclusive buffet in Cozumel. That trip was the beginning of something very different for me. Changing the environment gives you a unique perspective that you may never have had time or ability to see otherwise. For me, it was revisiting something I’d considered doing much earlier but pushed elsewhere in the hectic and safe space of being busy day-to-day. It was 6 weeks later when I followed through on following my own dreams instead of talking about them.
A year later, I was at the table with my family physically and not at all mentally. My son was home from his first semester of college for the week and we were with the usual suspects at a wonderful dinner. But I was getting scared. I’d already talked to a realtor about potentially listing my house.
You see after that Ironman in Cozumel that weekend I took a couple days to dream and think about what I really wanted and how I really wanted to spend that huge chunk of time at what we call work.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved every job I’ve had. I didn’t love all things about each one but from lecturing at a university I loved teaching college students about fitness, movement, and behavior change, to managing personal training department, hosting radio shows, writing articles and speaking on all kinds of stages about wellness and the impact on business, families, and lives… it’s been a dream to do it all.
I just felt like I was meant for more. I found myself criticizing parts of our fitness industry. What’s the answer when you can see the problem? I think, it’s to do something about it. In National Treasurer, Nicholas Cage’s character says, and I believe he was quoting but I don’t know who, Those who see the opportunity to make something better, have the responsibility to make it better.
So, nine years ago on this holiday I was scared. As scared maybe as I’ve ever been.
At this point, I’d gone to a couple therapy sessions over the complete hornet’s nest of stress the past 11 months had been. From quitting my job, to starting my own business – or at least going all into one I’d pretended to be a business prior to that.
My first two hours of therapy were also my last. Since I went to my second session and she said, there’s something I didn’t ask you at the first session that I need to… (I waited), Have you considered hurting yourself?
On the way home, I laughed so hard I cried about the fact that that was kind of a big omission huh? We were done.
I’d already pawned jewelry sadly to pay for Facebook ads at the time, which I’m certain I had no idea what I was doing.
Recent Thanksgiving Past
Many of my recent past Thanksgivings were different. I was the aunt at the table in Colorado, while my son celebrated with his dad in Iowa.
Once I was in Arizona, and my son was out of school, he began celebrating here with me. So this is our third Thanksgiving here and we’ll be golfing both Thursday and Friday. It’s yet to be determined whether the golf or the Thanksgiving meal will redeem me for the other. But it’s a pretty sure thing one or the other will happen. I’ve already forgotten the rolls from the store and I’m not thrilled about grocery shopping the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I may need to ask forgiveness for this one.
This year, I have two families. Last week, through no intention or fault of ours, I lost access to Google accounts. And to 10 years of files, contacts, and of course my emails and calendar for last week.
It was a tense four days.
Perspective Gives Gratitude
But it wasn’t… losing a dream I’d had for my life, a home, friends, and a community I loved.
It wasn’t three years later being in the right place when my niece’s world fell apart; when real tragedy, not an inconvenience struck.
My work family had me. And it worked out thanks to them.
We mark holidays like the markings on a timeline. More than birthdays we have this entire collection of certain holiday memories that we pull out serving as the evidence of change in our lives.
I do remember the elaborate and abundant spread my mother used to make. Once her mother had passed and our Thanksgivings were no longer over the river or at least two hours in a car to grandma’s, she began creating these amazing holiday meals. It began then in about 1988 and continued until about 2015. [Do we wonder how our relationship with food is so complicated then? Every memory of family – good or bad – often revolves around it!]
But collectively, with holidays its more the benchmarks and the pictures of people who now have left an empty chair, and the growing need for more chairs at the table as families expand and change.
Falling Apart and Coming Back Together
I mentioned seeing my niece’s life fall apart. I want to be sure I let you know that I’ve also seen it come back together. It’s not the same. It’s a beautifully new life with new people to love and the always present memory of someone she did love.
There’s hope in that story for all of us in how change happens and how parts of us may die while new parts of us grow, and others regenerate.
You have enough heart for more. You have all the time you need. People begin running, lifting weights, golfing, and painting … in their late 40s, 50s, and 80s… and continue to do Ironman distances in their mid and late 80s, and lift weights in their 90s.
We each have all the things we need – a mind, a body, and the thoughts and actions we take are choices that change us – in one way or in another.
This Thanksgiving, I’m sharing a meal around a new table at a new house, with my son and his new now Dr. girlfriend with so much to be grateful for.
Different. Still blessed. Even more grateful for all the days of the year I have to choose how I want to spend them, who I want to spend them with, and the people along my path and in my life now who make each day matter most.
The exercise is both a small and large part of what we do.
It’s an anchor for inner strength. It’s training discipline -for you the discipline may be doing less and realizing that’s best, or it may be that you need to do more and find the strength or add the power or muscle-building protein to your diet. To optimally change an aging body and brain requires strength training optimally. Protein and perhaps supplementation, and perhaps HRT if you choose it, can also be a part. But at the base of optimal age is strength training properly.
One Thanksgiving around a family table I asked my brother (who has been on varying doses of prednisone for years), if he was lifting weights. My mother piped in, “Why does he need to lift weights? He looks fine.” I think several heads turned my way waiting to see if I was going to implode.
The generational difference. In her day, exercise was a means to an end, only to change the way we were unhappy or discontent with our bodies.
Today, some of that lingers. How could it not? In you and I there is most likely doing x to get y… somewhere we’re not yet. Still though, more and more of us embrace the empowerment that comes in other reasons we exercise:
- Mood boost
- Resilience against stress
- Ability to physically do more for ourselves
- Improved sleep
It becomes a source of pride in who we are. Much like other things in life:
- A family we’ve raised
- A business we’ve built
- Success in a job we’ve done well
- The pristinely clean car or uniquely decorated home we have
What Would You Do-Over?
I regret not playing golf consistently after high school. I played regularly again in my 30s for a few years and then became my son’s #1 fan, juggling work, home and that was all time allowed. And life this past decade has been full of other things too. So, each time I go to a lesson I feel both inspired and a little “behind.” My next-door neighbor has asked me to play, and I don’t feel “ready” to play in a ladies league.
I haven’t yet made practice and play a regular part of my routine between lessons. But it’s the range fees and the lessons that keep me consistent. Without them I wouldn’t get these basics that remind me, “I’m a golfer” again.”
And so it is with you, if you’re exercising, but not in a way that meets your needs, not consistently and you’re not doing a program built based on women just like you… not on men, young athletic men as much of the exercise science is… then the Flipping 50 membership may be right for you.
Filled with 7 12-week strength programs each based on workouts sequenced for the optimal impact to muscle and bone with cues for the optimal safety and effectiveness.. there is nothing random or “YouTube-ish” about Flipping50 programs. No YouTube workout – even mine – give you the benefit of what you’ve done most recently and what you’ll do later this week in consideration of what you will do today for your workout.
The older we get the more strategic we want to be about preserving and gaining muscle, bone density, and our brain health.
There is no more effective exercise than strength training to change the way we age… provided it’s done correctly based on science featuring you, including:
- Adequate strength stimulus for muscle
- Adequate stimulus for bone
- Rest & recovery within workout sets and between workouts
- Includes components of power, balance, and mobility
Imagine Your Thanksgiving Future
Imagine 10 years from now.
If you stay on the same path you’re on now, will you lose 8-20% of your current lean muscle mass? Will you maintain it? Or will you gain it?
And if you continue on the same path you’re on, will you lose 8-10% of bone mineral density each decade? Or will you experience more rapid loss if you’re in the menopause transition?
What will future holiday gatherings look like for you? Will they be influenced by your physical health? For all of us in so many ways they will.
A woman I recently did an interview with, a doctor, mentioned she went to a class offered at a gym with her spouse recently. She said, I did what I needed to do even if it wasn’t appropriate for me since we were doing it together. She went on to explain what that was … she said I took more rest when I needed it.
I hope she also realized that women more than men need greater stimulus for muscle and bone. Results don’t come from moving in a frenzy and getting “tired.” It’s time that we all lose the ideas that we’ve gained over decades, unlearn and start fresh realizing, you need MORE stimulus than you’ve ever needed before, and while yes, more rest may be a part of it, it’s only a part of it. An older man also needs more recovery time… and so do 50% of 20-somethings. It’s not only recovery… it’s just everything. A mass workout filled with men and women of all ages, isn’t serving anyone of them without them knowing it.
Make your own wish come true. There’s no wishbone required for this one.
I’m adding an update, a PS, if you will to what I thought would be the end of this episode.
They Left Too Soon
Today I dropped kids off at the airport. I took myself off to the gym because while I’d been impressed (and okay, a little shocked) that my son and his girlfriend went for a walk yesterday morning before we left for golf… I did not. Other than swinging a lot and stepping in and out of the cart to stay on time in our 18 hole rounds both Thurs and Fr, I didn’t really exercise. And of course, that’s fine. We exercise regularly to have these easy misses when we’re busy and otherwise engaged. As it is, I still run a business and like to at least check in on things while I’m away or on holiday.
But once back at home deep into chopping up leftover turkey for two unique soups (want one of the recipes? I’ll link to the Black and White Bean Turkey Chili in this episode: the other is inside our members area)… well, I put on the holiday music and realized I was having a tough time.
The Empty Chair
I couldn’t put my finger on it, but then realized I had this longing that I can’t satisfy. As much like a holiday song as it sounds, I long for the familiar face and place… that isn’t here anymore. And life is good, don’t get me wrong. Having the kids here for Thanksgiving was perfect, and it’s right that they’re going home to do a first Christmas at my son’s new home. How fun to imagine the decisions about where it will go and how to decorate and so many things that can actually be the start of years of traditions of his own.
And I was thinking of every holiday past as if they were just yesterday. The ones from when I was little and believed and wished my dreams would come true on Christmas morning. The Christmas Eve traditions we had then, and the ones I enjoyed with my own family much later all flooded my memory. I ached for the past and all the blessings I’ve had over all the holidays we’ve enjoyed.
Yesterday walking the mall mostly to walk off a dinner of sushi celebrating the doctor in our contingent, I didn’t have a list. There wasn’t something I wish for that will make me happy. I’m there. So, I don’t know why it struck me so hard the melancholy of Christmas’ past this year. It’s the second Thanksgiving with my mom’s empty chair. Last year, it was fresh, and I was still surrounded by so much love and support and I think maybe a little cried out.
I encourage you, to be where it matters most to you this year for holidays. To do the things, alone and with people that have meaning to you. This afternoon I pulled out my tree and began to decorate. Because inside those boxes are memories too, of every first and every ornament that was gifted to me. As I put them on the tree I remember… the high school best friend and the loss of a family member, the vacation in HI, the first Christmas with Dustin.
And be sure you’re taking in each Christmas, each benchmark that these holidays are, to consider what you love about this time in your life and if you want change to make the plans to make the changes in WHO you need to be so you may have them.
I love Christmas. But more than that, I love, and hope you do, your every day and the strength and optimism you have about tomorrow.
And with that friends I will close with a thanks to you for being here. We’re at a unique place in history, we midlife women can change the way everyone ages by showing them how to do it, not the same as other generations have but with the science we now have to be the first generation to be at 80 what no one has seen before.
For You Who Want to Implement Change Now
As I release this episode, there are just two days left for these three things:
- The Flipping 50 membership is open for Black Friday event savings and bonuses that will not be there later. We close again after it’s over.
- The Flipping 50 March Retreat is open and will be until full, but not at this savings of $700 off the registration rate and 90 days of training that will begin December 1 for those already registered.
- The Flipping 50 Specialist is still available at 2018 rates… prices increase January 1, but during Black Friday you save an additional $200 off the Advanced option and get all the new benefits of coaching opportunities within our community, and two other passive revenue streams we’re adding in addition to a new resources library that will help you once you know how to prescribe exercise for women in menopause, to build your business. The world needs more women in the health & fitness coaching business leading the way. We want to make it easy and better for all women to find what they need.
It all ends after Cyber Monday. If you’re waiting for a sign, it’s now. Even if you missed these specials, this tribe is all about you. You are 100% of what we do. It’s not sometimes about pregnancy, or post-natal fitness, and sometimes about menopause. We’re 100% about menopause fitness science every day. Flipping 50 was the first and only exclusively made-for-menopause fitness membership in the world. Our mission is to remain the best with science and experts continually updating the best practices for optimal aging and a better right now.
Resources Mentioned in this Episode:
The Flipping 50 membership: https://www.flippingfifty.com/cafe
Flipping 50’s March 2023 Retreat: https://www.flippingfifty.com/2023inAZ
The Flipping50 Menopause Fitness Specialist: https://www.flippingfifty.com/specialist