Ouch. That hurt, seeing one’s identity summarized so for the news. But my name was in the newspaper because this 46 year-old housewife is a member of the La Spezia underwater hockey team and participated in the Coppa d’Italia, a series of tournaments to determine the national champion. Here in Italy, where girls are deterred from playing sports, the daughter of a friend plays on the boys’ soccer team because she is the only girl… and she’s good. In fact, I am very proud of her and have hopes that those particular boys will grow up with a better understanding of what girls can do, maybe even encourage their own daughters to have higher aspirations than la bella figura. If a middle-aged XX like me can play a competitive team sport regularly (Thanks, Andrea, for making that happen!), maybe I can be an example for other girls who want to be more than just long legs in a short skirt and heels.
Ouch. That’s for today. Another variety of striving higher than just being pretty. Not pretty at all even; today was for strength. And it was ugly. I almost cried when too many things hurt at once and I was stuck on a chair lift, unable to ease any of them. But that was several runs into the day. At the top of the first, I thought to myself, “Maybe I just don’t like this sport anymore. Maybe I converted too late in life. I want my two sticks back, to be gently swooshing down the mountain, as I used to, like all the other olds who’ve been doing it all their lives. But Be Here Now…” and over the lip I went. And it was good. I don’t shred; I ride with fear and trepidation, but I ride. Today I stood up more than I fell down. That was fun. It’s not the exhilaration of being 18 years-old, screaming down the hill with my hair on fire to catch the last lift up even as the sun is going down.
I’m not 18 anymore and that’s okay. My life is fantastic in so many ways which only come with living it out. But it does take its toll on the body. To some extent, I must let go of valuing how it looked and be happy with what it can do. That takes work, but the payoff is health. Strong is beautiful. At any age. So, as one San Francisco yogi I know says, “Do what you can do; Be happy with what you can do.” Yes.