Maybe it is an age or maturity thing, but I have started to look at my body differently. In previous years, I looked at my body as something I had to perfect. A project that I had to undertake and work on everyday. I pushed it to the point of injuries. I pushed it to the point of over-fatigue. I pushed it to the point where it felt angry and irritated. I took it for granted that I was going to be a machine and was invincible. That it would be amazingly flexible and strong no matter how hard I beat it up.
I now look at it as something amazing in the context of what I can produce from it when I train in something new, when I am asked to move a way I haven’t before and can feel new muscles activating, when it changes due to a different type of training. It amazes me everyday when I have killed my training the day before and can feel new muscles fatigued or achy.
I have been fortunate to not have sustained any career altering injuries in my dance training. In fact, the older I get, the more beautiful my dancing is. Likely this comes from maturity of experience in life as well as the body getting smarter. When I hear my younger and older counterparts complain about their bodies, I wonder what happened. With the heaviness of training I put myself through all these years, I guess my body should be feeling more worn out like the rest of my colleagues. However, I feel the opposite. I feel stronger, more coordinated, and sexier than ever. I can actually now look in the mirror and think “wow” rather than examining for the flaws.
My acupuncturist told me that in some tribes that have been studied all over the world, there are groups where the elders can outdo the younger tribe members in physical endeavours. They are of the mindset that age makes us better athletes. This seems contradictory to the beliefs of North Americans where we see age as being a hindrance to our physicality. Is this because it is because we have been indoctrinated to believe that aging is a weakness and thus makes us weaker or are we just genetically programmed differently? I fear for those who I hear complaining that they feel a decade or two older than they are physically because of how their body complains. Is it because they actually have permanently damaged and worn out their body? Is it because they subscribe to the belief system that age makes you weaker?
I honestly thought when I was a decade younger, that I would be retired from the level of dancing I do by now. I grew out of that belief about five years ago and my body seems to have gone along with the concept. It seems to want to believe that age is making it stronger. I am not saying by any means that I am able to abuse my body like I used to. Maybe I am smarter in my training and my body is responding greatly to that? I don’t know. When you find yourself saying your body feels old, try to work on changing that thought pattern and see what manifests itself in your physicality. It may surprise you.