I love to travel. More accurately, my brain loves to travel. My body finds hours in an airline seat difficult, nights on strange beds rough, walking over rocky terrain challenging and new foods unsettling. So while my mind is having a great time, I’ve learned to pacify the rest of me with analgesics and antacids that I seldom have to take at home.
Because I have no intention of traveling less as I get older, I have pretty much resigned myself to an increasing regimen of over the counter helpers as my aging body keeps pace with the wanderlust in my soul. I mean, this is not a problem that gets better, right? Backs only get more cranky and stomachs only get more particular with the years, or so I have been lead to believe. In other words, this is one kind of change that is predictable and not good.
Through a series of odd flukes, two months ago I found myself attending a week long seminar on qigong, an ancient Chinese practice which is related to Tai Chi and bears similarities to yoga. Please don’t ask me how I could just sort of end up at a week-long retreat doing something like this, I know that is weird but it happened. To my surprise, I took to the exercises. They seemed to combine everything I had ever liked about Pilates, Lamaze, yoga, dance, and stretching into a simple fifteen minute routine. So, with only one exception, I have done this exercise every day for two months now.
I did it because I really like doing it. I have no ailments and no aspirations. It simply feels good. About a month ago I had to do something a little bit physically challenging, at least for me. I spent quite a bit of time up on a stool painting two walls bright turquoise and I was a little surprised at how well it went and how good I felt afterwards. Interesting.
But it has gotten weirder. I’ve not only spent the past week traveling, I’ve spent it visiting my in-laws. I and my king-sized husband have slept on four different beds in six nights including an eight-year-old’s tiny pink canopy bed, and a futon never made to hold the two of us. I’m in New England and am inhaling anything with lobster and experiencing cold brisk air almost never found in Texas.
The title of this post has of course given my punchline away. My back feels great. The budding arthritis in my hips brought on by cool weather has yet to show itself. My digestive system could not be happier. I haven’t touched a tablet of anything on my travel kit. My husband actually described me as “spunky” out on a tennis court today and that’s not usually the adjective that comes to mind.
Qigong? Some strange alien formula in my bath water that is reducing my aging process? A kind of placebo effect brought on by my own hopefulness? Don’t know. Hope it lasts. Going to keep up with the qigong (and with bathing) in hopes that it does.