Last week I wrote about my trip down south (ending in New Orleans) and my decision to stay a couple of extra days alone at the end of the trip. I found a Bed and Breakfast, called The Green House Inn, that sounded perfect. A feature that I really liked was their salt water swimming pool. As I was making my reservations, the owner said, “The pool is european style”, so I asked what this meant and he said, “It is a ‘clothing optional’ pool, Miss Mary.” I laughed and thought, “Well, this really will be an adventure!”
I don’t know if I will be brave enough to go naked into the pool. The idea of looking at my own (almost 60-year-old) body, naked, isn’t all that appealing, much less having it seen by anyone else. I know that I should love my body, and truly I have made peace with it…mostly. But totally naked, in front of people?
Of course I’ve packed my swim suit, just in case I chicken out. But I would like to try going into the pool….naked. It sounds like a fun challenge, like the time I (who was very afraid of heights) decided to go skydiving. I just wanted to see if I could do it. But as I think about this, I believe that skydiving was easier. I did have to get into the plane, allow myself to be strapped to my instructor, and creep to the door of the plane. But after that, it was done; I was going to float down to earth, by parachute, whether I changed my mind or not. And I didn’t have any fear that people were going to roll their eyes when they saw me or think, “I hope that I don’t look like that when I get older!”
So this feels like a challenge…in the best sense of the word. I am challenging my false pride and the non-acceptance of my aging body, because the thought of aging gracefully and being unconcerned about (and accepting of) the way my body looks, is so lovely to me. I’m not there yet, but I would like to be….I can imagine it. And that is the first step.
“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” Steve Jobs