Extending Our Warranty

By Lisa Sugarman

I’ve always figured that if we treat our bodies like we treat our cars we should get a good few hundred thousand miles out of them. A lube here, a knee replacement there and you can keep just about anything running.

You’ve seen the Toyota ads with the Corolla that still runs like new after 595,000 miles. We should be able to apply the same philosophy to our bodies, shouldn’t we? I mean look at Jack LaLanne. What’s he now, 150? And the guy’s still knocking off 200 knuckle-ups a day.

The way I see it, if we just take care of our stuff it should last. Bodies included. But it takes some follow through.

I guess I’m thinking about this a lot more lately because I seem to have way too many things to tell my chiropractor to fix whenever I see him. And that freaked me out for awhile, until I came to the understanding that this aging thing will happen in spite of us. So why not embrace it?

Clearly the older we get the more important it becomes to just keep moving forward. It’s that whole inertia idea: objects in motion remain in motion. So the more we keep moving the better off we’ll be.

I do think we all hit our own threshold where things just start to sputter and stall a little but I think that just means we have to make more of an obvious effort to keep things running. So instead of putting our dental check-up off for two years (sorry Dr. Baratz, those couple of years totally slipped by Dave) we actually need to go. The mammograms. The annual physicals. All of it.

I think people have this incredible misconception once we round our 40s it’s like the day after your car warranty expires when parts start falling off in the middle of the road and the next thing you know you’re hitch-hiking home carrying your front bumper.

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but this aging thing happens, whether we want it to or not, it just depends on how we handle it. Just look at metabolisms. Can any of us eat the same way we did in college and still close our button fly? Uh, no. Just ask my husband Dave who used to eat a big beef with ketchup from Mino’s, onion rings, and a vanilla milk shake at least three times a week when we were in high school. Now he’s got to run about 1,000 miles a week just to digest a clam roll from Woodman’s once a year. And I don’t even want to discuss what I can’t eat anymore. So don’t ask. The point is we need to tweak things a little as we go. Eat a little less and walk a few extra miles. Problem solved. It’s really not that hard. We really don’t need complete reconstruction when things start to sag. It’s called gravity and inevitability.

You’ve got to keep in mind that “you get what you get and you don’t get upset.” If you’re overweight, stack the deck in your favor and go join a gym; if you hate your hair get some highlights; if you’re not flexible, do some yoga. There are always options. And they don’t have to be extreme ones.

Stiff joints aren’t a signal that we should head straight for the elephant graveyard, it just means we need to switch things up a little and try something different. It may take us a little longer to get where we’re going but it doesn’t mean we’re out of gas.

I really do think aging is way more in our head than we think. Attitude goes a long way. If you’re convinced that just because you’re cartilage is shrinking a little you’re going one step away from assisted living well, then, I guess you’re done. But if you embrace the fact that our aches and pains and varicose veins are preordained then you can just do your best to work around them and work with what you’ve got.

Remember, a little duct tape and some WD-40 goes a long way.

Lisa Sugarman lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Read and discuss all her columns at facebook.com/ItisWhatitisColumn OR read her blog at https://itiswhatitiscolumn.wordpress.com.

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