Two things caught my attention on the NBC News last night. One, the news anchor referred to the Inauguration of “the 43rd President.” The story’s reporter said the 44th. So I looked it up.
Barack Obama becomes the 44th President of the United States tomorrow, an historic occasion no matter who takes the oath of office, but in his case monumental.
Channeling Reagan, Kennedy and FDR, President-elect Obama will swear his oath on Abraham Lincoln’s Bible. Does he know what he has gotten himself into? I doubt it not.
Well, the second and lesser story on the news asked and answered the question Does the presidency accelerate the aging process of those who occupy the Oval Office?
Yes. At the rate of two years for one, according to experts. I can see their pain. Can’t you?
How we spend or invest our lives does take its toll over time. Even those who can afford to cosmetically alter their appearance cannot hide forever the ravages of sun and wind, guilt and anxiety, good food and bad scales. Some people in their efforts to appease the celebrity gods—ahem, Joan Rivers and Michael Jackson come to mind—end up looking worse.
The older I get, the more I admire those individuals who cease sooner rather than later to strive with their Maker. More than a battle of the bulge, it’s a battle of the vanities—egos and pocketbooks, waging a war that convinces people that looking good can be had for a price. Whether a person pays that price at the gym or the health food store or foots the bill in the plastic surgeon’s office, all flesh is on its way out of style.
Still investing in relationships, experiences and yes, teetering on the balance beam of good health has its rewards. I have it on good authority that bodily exercise profits a little.
The news broadcast referred to Obama as a “gym rat” and President Bush got tagged for his daily runs and early to bed routine. Guess Bush channeled Benjamin Franklin.
Imagine how much older they might look without their workouts. Is that so wrong?
Saturday I attended my second Yoga class with 47 people, up from the previous week’s record 43. The instructor harked dismay, apologized that strangers found themselves uncomfortably close to their neighbor. I just didn’t want to smell anyone, BIF and all.
When the instructor came by me, attempting my Downward-Facing Dog pose, she said, “Can you straighten your back through here?” She drew back her hand when I grunted, “No.”
“Good answer,” she said. “We should all honor what our body can do today.”
She concluded the class with ten words. That’s how I memorized what she said during the relaxation phase of the hour-long class.
“At the end of your practice, everything wants to rest.” AAAHHHHHH.
Everything except my brain, I thought. It still wants to know, How old am I? Can I keep this up? Will I ever do a Downward-Facing Dog?
And I’d also like to know how many Presidents will take office in my lifetime?