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Climbing the Staircase of Age: Pilates as a Pathway to Wisdom and Vitality


Nature's Staircase: Climbing Towards a Fuller, Wiser Life
Ascending into Wisdom: Each Step a Leap Towards Vitality

Happy Soulful Sunday, everyone! Today is a day for reflection—a moment to pause and consider the journey we're all on. As a Pilates teacher who's danced through the decades, both literally and metaphorically, I've now almost reached the reflective age of 65. It’s quite humorous when you think about it; despite the years ticking by, our inner selves remain vibrant and unchanged. It's only the mirror that cheekily reminds us of time's passage.


But let's talk about aging, not as a decline but as a part of a revolutionary change in how we live. Consider this: we're now living on average 30 years longer than our great-grandparents. That's like being handed an entire second adult lifetime. Yet, it seems society hasn’t quite caught up with this new reality. We're stuck in an outdated narrative that views aging as a downward arc—you're born, you peak in mid-life, and then it's a supposed decline into decrepitude.


However, a growing number of thinkers—philosophers, artists, doctors, and scientists—are re-evaluating these extra decades. They argue that what we often consider the last act of life is not just a time to endure but a significant developmental stage, as distinct from midlife as adolescence is from childhood. They urge us to rethink how we approach these years, to see them not just as a time of survival but of profound growth.


I've spent the past year delving deep into this topic, and I propose a new metaphor for aging: envision it as a staircase. This isn't a descent but an ascent, a rising into wisdom, wholeness, and authenticity. Aging is not about decline; it's about potential—potential that isn’t reserved for a select few. Most people over 50 report feeling better than they did when they were younger—they're less stressed, less hostile, and less anxious. They see more commonalities in others, and yes, many even say they're happier.


And speaking of health, let me share a little personal triumph. As many of you know, because I've mentioned it to anyone who will listen, I was recently told by doctors that I have the heart of a 35-year-old—a rather delightful bit of news! However, when I jokingly asked why I was getting out of breath climbing stairs if my heart was so youthful, the answer was simple: "You need to train it better." So, it seems, the staircase of age requires not just any effort, but the right kind of effort.


As we teach and practice Pilates, we constantly engage with the idea of movement improving life, of each stretch and each breath helping to maintain vitality. Let's apply this mindset to our understanding of aging. It's not just about adding years to our lives, but life to our years, enhancing our journey on this upward staircase.

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