THE BLOG

You CAN Teach an Old Dog a New Trick

04/28/2015 06:47 pm ET | Updated Jun 28, 2015

When my son was young, he thought the idiom was "You CAN teach an old dog new tricks!" How optimistic, sweet and naive... especially as his "old dog" mom was heading towards 50. Turns out he may have been right. To celebrate my 51st birthday, I loaded my husband and sons into the car and set out on a very special adventure.

First, let me go back a year to when I approached 50! - I liked to use the exclamation mark next to the 5-0 because I was proud and it shocked everyone accustomed to 5th Decade Angst (probably a DSM-5 recognized disorder). After practicing yoga for years, I had just started shifting my Intention in class from "kicking ass" to things like "balance," "breathing" or "floating." It worked and I committed to mastering a headstand by the big date.

My yogis and some surprising core muscles connected successfully, allowing me to go from a supported tri-pod version to a full away-from-the-wall headstand. A few weeks before 50, while on the Charles River, I decided to try the elusive headstand on a paddleboard. From the shore, my son aimed his camera, hoping to record an Epic Fail but instead, captured the first image of my public balanced inversion.

Before I knew it, it became my THING. I never had a thing before. As a kid, I was never a show-off; the funny pictures were always of my younger sister. I was asked to lip sync for class performances and worked crew on shows. Later, I became a great #2 in the corporate world of marketing and happily gave others credit while volunteering, but now this. Suddenly, I am dropping down in public and throwing my feet up in the air.

As I take trips with my family or for business, I try never to miss an iconic locale. At sites including cruise ships, Olympic cauldrons, palaces, bridges, stadiums, museums or beaches, I have thrust my iPhone into the hands of strangers and performed. Proudly, I explain that I am over 50! And just learned this new trick!

In anticipation of this year's birthday, I plotted 51 locations significant to my life and decided to spend the day achieving a personal record. Starting at our home at 7:15 a.m., we spent the next 14 hours (fortunately, I was the only one who had bothered to calculate exactly how long 51 headstands would take or the spouse and sons would never have gone along) traversing Los Angeles.

From the Rose Bowl in the northeast, to LAX in the southwest; from sea level at Santa Monica beach to the mountaintop of Griffith Park; from the crowded streets of Hollywood Boulevard to the calm of UCLA's Sculpture Garden; and including the places where I got married, delivered three babies, had life events, shop and even Drive-Thru (In & Out) I posed, my sons took the pictures and my hubby drove the get-away car.
There was no time for a cake or formal celebration but it was the most thrilling day of my life. Old dogs and new tricks? Sometimes you have to see things from a different angle. At my age, it's all a matter of perspective.