I'm Over 50, So Why Am I Still Comparing?

I can’t find the author of this quote but I think it’s brilliant:
“Comparison is the greatest source of misery.”

Do I think baby boomer women know this first hand? Yes, I do. And my hand is up.

I was half way through my pilate reformer class (the same class I’ve been taking for three years) but there was something different in the air this morning. And “in the air” is relevant here. I should have been decked out in a leotard and ballet slippers– and the class renamed, Pilates, the Flying Wallendas Hour.

Think acrobatics. Feet on the foot bar, body upside down hovering over the machine. I’m praying for suspension. Don’t fall I tell myself. I’m struggling with this, I am not having a good time. Not even one iota. I look around at my classmates, the seven other women — and I seem to be the only one unable to get it.

Who cares? Why should it bother me? Why am I comparing myself to these otherwise lovely women who at this moment I really don’t like? I know the usual answer. It’s just human nature to compare. But I think there’s something else going on.

And it’s a boomer truism: We experience a sadness when we can’t do what we used to do –or what we think our bodies should be doing. When we see others who are succeeding and we’re not, there’s often a sense of disappointment, if not anger.
For boomer women who see their faces changing (where did that line come from?), their body parts fighting gravity (OK, didn’t my rear end used be up here?) it’s not uncommon to feel as if we’re on the downside, looking over our shoulder at the past.

What works for me and I hope for you (that is after the shock subsides) is to reconfigure expectations. It’s all about staying healthy, and safe– so that we’re able to exercise and move for as long as we possibly can.

If a certain class is too difficult, find another. If you need to change your routine, do it. And don’t beat yourself up.

It’s not a defeat. It’s you being smart.

p.s. I signed up for a different pilates class: acrobatic skill not required.

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

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