by Jay Hiller, July 30, 2022
I have a yoga friend who had surgery for a detached retina a few years ago. I’m not sure how old he was when this happened but I think likely over 60. The class we were in was practicing headstands when my friend, who is extremely strong and fit, mentioned that he’d had this surgery a few weeks before. I asked if inverting was a good idea and he said that his doctor hadn’t said not to do it. Later I wondered if my friend’s doctor knew or had even considered that he was capable of doing a headstand.
Very few of us have had positive role models for aging well. All of my grandparents had very difficult lives that didn’t leave them in good shape when they reached what’s called in Spanish, la tercera edad, the third age. Ramona Oliver’s book, Inclined Elders: How to rebrand aging for self and society provides us with many of them. She defines inclined elders as “…women and men who have made a conscious choice to ignore society’s mindset of decline and over the hill as we age. Instead we embrace a positive mindset of continuing to Incline and climb ever upwards.”
The book is divided into three parts: attitude, growth and empowerment . It’s made lively and readable by the many stories and examples of people in their third age learning and growing. As I read it, a productive and happy healthspan for my own third age didn’t seem at all unrealistic. I hope that more of us will embrace this mindset.
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