Vaulting the Horse: Building Strength at Any Age
I am a formerly chubby girl who, at 56, is still learning to navigate the “gym class” of life.
When I was in grade school, the pommel horse in gym class was my nemesis. No matter how I tried, I could not jump over the damn thing. I would get a running start and then freeze, the hard leather and handles staring back at me (along with my athletic classmates). This was no kindly Black Beauty or Flicka. This horse was a demon. My arms simply could not support my weight. To this day, I love cowgirl lore, but I was never able to tame the beast of gym.
Now, as I approach 60, I constantly battle those demon horses and my inner chubby girl. Starting the next phase of my life, I am recently separated and struggle with growing a business in a tough economy. Although I had a successful corporate career, launched a company at 48, wrote a book, and raised two amazing young women, I often run up to the horse and stop short…terrified to attempt that leap. What if I fall? What if the skinny mean girls laugh at me? My thighs (less chubby than they once were) are sore and bruised from stalled attempts.
But I manage to get through the gym class of life most days with humor and grace. Having trouble vaulting the horse?
- Stay close with your girlfriends (the ones who admit to their own “athletic” challenges) and remember that each of us has an inner chubby girl. We sport acne, cellulite, and scars below the surface.
- Tune out the snickers and eye rolls and listen only to your inner coach.
- Find patient mentors and fans who will cheer you on and guide you.
- Focus on those skills and abilities you do have. You can’t be a star athlete in all sports. We are all gold medalists in some life sport.
I may never literally vault a horse. But I no longer dread gym class. I just put on my shorts and admire my jiggling and bruised thighs. The world needs cheerleaders and water girls too -- not just athletes.
Nancy A. Shenker is the founder and CEO of theONswitch®, a New York-based marketing company and nunumedia, a publishing venture she launched in 2010 with a line of business comic books. Her latest book, with Lindsay E. Brown, is a guide for young women entering the working world, entitled“Don’t Hook Up With the Dude in the Next Cube: 200+ Career Secrets for 20-Somethings.” Nancy was formerly a marketing executive at Citibank, MasterCard, and Reed Exhibitions. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and New York University’s publishing program. She conducts workshops and webinars on personal branding, social media, public relations, and e-marketing.To comment, click here.