OK, so I’m 60-something and my lower back is shot.
The 20-somethings are thinking, “So? What do you need a back for at your age?” The 70-somethings respond, “Oh honey, that’s just the beginning.” I try not to dwell on that.
I did not bring it up to curry sympathy, although I enjoy a good “Poor baby” even more than the next guy. No, I bring it up in hopes I will open the eyes of just one high school girl who is slouching around right now. That’s right. I was you a mere 45 years ago. And when my parents told me to straighten up, I ignored them. I can only imagine how my life would have been different if I had cultivated a regal bearing. The right dress, a good tiara and the whole Prince Charles–Princess Di mess might have been avoided.
Even if it didn’t mean you will look so much more beautiful and not be in general misery at 61, I’m telling you, it’s the first step to marrying well. Girls, if you want to attract wealth (and you do), you need to look the part, from your graceful neck on down. But even if you foolishly choose to marry for love, stand up straight and hit the gym. Your body will thank you for years and years and years. And when all your friends are hobbling around in pain, you will thank yourself.
I fear, however, that even if I hadn’t slumped through the past four decades, I might still have managed to do damage. It’s totally my mom’s fault. She was not the kind of woman to wait around until someone with some upper body strength was available to move furniture, scrub a floor, carry a heavy box or whatever. I studied at her feet. I don’t want to wait for maintenance, my spouse or even someone with a young, strong back. When I am ready to rearrange my environment, take a load to the dump or wash that dog, I want it done now. I do not want to wait until the nearest available mesomorph can fit it into his schedule and then argue about it how it should be done as he goes about the task. I’d like to blame it on the feminist movement, but my nose would surely grow. My impatience is hard-wired.
The price of my highly efficient but really bad attitude is the current state of my vertebrae and surrounding parts. I’m hard-pressed to say I could have done things differently, but I would certainly have stuck with my ballet classes, or at least hired a combination personal assistant/cabana boy to be at my beck and call.
Take it from my bent-over, S-shaped spine. Stand tall, stand proud. Over the next few decades, you will be called upon to be strong in a 1,000 different ways. You’ll want to have the muscles to back it up.
They may manage to have men fetching and carrying for them, but those delicate flower-types sitting around waiting for someone else to make things happen are bound to miss out on a lot of really good times.
Jean Gillette is the Community News editor for The Coast News Group. As a journalist, she primarily worked in San Clemente and Los Angeles. She has been with the Coast News for 20 years and lives in La Costa.