Nina, a few thoughts. I’m rewriting this in response to your revelation that this is about Romanian gyms, which in every way changes my response, which was initially based on the assumption that you were writing about Western gyms.

I recognize that for many in your world, the environment of the gym is new and rather amazing. Suffice it to say that for some here, that’s also true. However, Americans have of course had access to gym facilities for years, and many still eschew them. Happily that’s changing.

I realize your story is in jest, but there is a strain of unfortunate stereotyping of which our species is seriously guilty. I might suggest that you look at your choice of words, which is what led me to my initial negative reaction, and why as a woman of nearly 67 I wanted to challenge.

We leak our opinions, fears and discomfiture in our words. All of us do, it’s a human trait. I am protective of those who are past sixty, not only because I live in those forests but also because we all need to rewrite the unfair assumptions that an increasingly youth-obsessed world heaps upon us.

As an original cast member from opening day at Disney World, I got a chuckle out of your description. Those were the princesses, effectively Disney’s version of the homecoming queen. And they were completely and utterly obsessed with their looks.

And kindly, very very very few of us older folks are trying to “recapture our youth.” If I’m not in primo shape, I die. It’s just that simple. Hollywood ingenues who have aged suffer from that awful disease, but real people living a full life are dealing with the absolute realities presented by a post- 25 yo body. That’s when we begin our slow decline if we don’t maintain. While I understand your explanation of the phrase,again, please understand that I’m calling out both the falsity of the idea itself and the focus on youth rather than simply being the best we can be where we are. I would suggest, and again English is your second language so this is offered simply as an idea, that youth is one thing, and youthful (thinking, ways of being and acting) is another. I think perhaps what we would like is to be more youthful as opposed to young, which is patently impossible.

Mature adult women- emphasis on the word mature- evolve into our changing, aging selves. Part of that is the very real responsibility for taking care of a body that demands more work as we get older. More and harder work. More maintenance. We can no longer make unrealistic demands and stay up all night to go for a hike in the morning. We have to eat better, work harder, move more and lift not only to maintain, but to push off as long as possible the effects of sarcopenia.

Happily, older people everywhere are making better choices,which clearly is happening at your gym. As older people see opportunities open up for them after communism, it’s like being given Christmas gifts that were heretofore unimaginable. That’s why you see some of the responses. It’s a brave new world.

I am tagging the inimitable Vienna De Vega on this; at 70, and a yoga instructor and seriously in-shape “frail little oldie” I’d be curious about her take.

I appreciated your response, the chance to discuss and clarify it, and wish you the best of luck.

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Frail little oldie at 65

Horizon Huntress, prize-winning author, adventure traveler, boundary-pusher, wilder, veteran, aging vibrantly. I own my sh*t. Let’s play!

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