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Susan Pace Headshot

Why Yoga's The Only Group Exercise I'll Participate In

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Can someone help me edit this story written on my face? I found these parentheses a few years ago. How about this quotation mark between my eyebrows? My forehead is beginning to look like lined paper. I don't even use notepads much anymore.

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I don't like lines -- waiting in them or finding them on my face. I have a tiny crease on each earlobe, too. I now know why my Nana wore those painful clip on accessories. They hid the lobe divots.

Am I whining? Maybe. Overall I'm happy with what my 53 years look like. Maybe it's not so much about the lines on my face. I don't think they're going anywhere at my age. It's how quickly they got drawn that's getting to me.

The stress of a divorce prompted a big weight loss. My appetite, along with my husband, left. But keeping the weight off was a reminder that you can lose and still win. Lee, my husband of four years now, makes exercise a life priority. He inspired me to start walking the tough hills of his former neighborhood.

He even gave me a membership to his fitness center. I had two lessons with a personal trainer there once. I came away insisting there should be an eleventh commandment. Thou shalt not pair a 50-plus-year-old woman with a personal trainer of either sex under the age of 25. A male trainer makes you look like a pathetic cougar in need of a romance novel. Standing next to a female trainer makes you look like a before photo and she's the after. The laws of nature and gravity bless her with firmer breasts, toned abs and whiter teeth. She doesn't have any lines either except the one she crosses when she makes you look into a full-length mirror when you exercise.

When I scheduled a root canal over seeing my personal trainer I decided to start running instead. I now run three times a week. I usually run outside and only with Cody our neurotic Cocker Spaniel. This effort solves two issues: the need to work off my wine consumption and Cody's need to spiral out of control if the phone rings. I don't like running with anyone except the dog. My running isn't pretty. My face is the color and texture of a cayenne pepper that's been on the vine too long. Yes, I do work hard at exercising. But no amount of exertion gets rid of these lines.

I really started thinking about all of this the other day when I went to the gym because it was raining outside. I typically use Lee's membership for one thing now -- yoga. That's the only group exercise I'll participate in. You can meditate and you don't look like you've been under a broiler. Any exercise that involves lying on a mat and someone telling you to think of no one but yourself has my attention. You can also accidentally pass gas without being judged. Because there is no judgement in yoga -- Namaste.

But, it was really my day to run so I reluctantly went to the gym. I couldn't figure out how to turn the treadmill television monitor on. The seventy-year-old lady knew how to get her screen working and so did the college kid on the other side. I gave an air of simply not needing a distraction preferring, instead, to be in my zone. So, I spent thirty minutes looking at my reflection on a black screen. It was like holding up a negative of my face under the harshest lights. I just saw shadows and creases. So, basically I ran and read my life story.

I know there are plenty of ways to take care of these issues. But, I just don't know. I see celebrities in movies or television around my age who declare their lines tell a lovely story. But, when I take a closer look with my readers on I see there's been some major editing. I don't see one story -- not even a tweet.

This photo of me was taken last summer at the beach. This is where the problem started long ago when I used baby oil as a way to enhance a healthy glow while soaking in the sun. I'm sure I knew even then this wasn't a good idea. But at sixteen I probably thought I'd never make it past fifty anyway.

But here I am three years past my expiration date. I'm not planning on going anywhere. My nonfiction face keeps adding chapters. I don't see ever having the spare money to get the work done. Any pocket change I have goes to medicating the neurotic Cocker Spaniel.

Maybe those ladies at the eyebrow place can come up with another use for their satanic little threads. Maybe they can twist it over my face. Besides removing unwanted hair (and that's another thing) they can erase just a few grammatical errors. They can leave some, too. This midlife girl has a couple of interesting stories left to tell. I want you to be able to read the unedited version.

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

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8 Exercises to Reduce the Effects of Aging
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