Keep Moving

I recently watched a  wonderful  film called  Been Rich all My Life. The story of five  women, and their 70 years of professional dancing and friendship,  has kept me thinking about many  of my intentions. The one it brings most clearly into focus is that moving toward fifty consciously means that I have to keep moving.

If my intention is to be ready to live my  biggest, best self at fifty, my current sedentary life is not gonna  get me there. In my vision of my future I am in motion: strong, lithe and flexible.  In my daily reality, I am portly and spend most days sitting behind a desk. This contradiction leaves me with a choice. It also leaves me face to face with the difference between an intentional stance and a wish.

An intentional stance, says cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett, is a mental attitude which  suggests that certain material actions must logically follow. “Wish!” said Red Jack , my grandfather who was not a philosopher. “Gal, spit in one hand, wish in the other. See which one fills up fastest.”  Neither Mr. Dennett nor Red Jack believed in supernatural  intervention when plain old effort would suffice. Both of them would counsel me to stop pretending that wishing is an aerobic activity.

My friend Melissa’s blog contains a public declaration of her intention to keep moving for 30 minutes a day. To get where I’m going, I guess I’ll have to join her.

My wife offered to take salsa lessons with me this year. If we start now, perhaps in twenty-five years we’ll look like Paddy Jones:

She’s only 75, not 92 as rumored on the Internet. But it’s true that she started dancing to move through grieving the loss of her husband. And that young man she’s dancing circles around? He’s not her grandson. He’s her teacher.

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