The Sun Shines Sooner… Standing tall in the ‘grace years’

Posted: December 26th, 2014 | Columns, Featured, The Sun Shines Sooner… | No Comments

By Pam Crooks

“I’m looking forward to the ‘grace’ years!” I commented to my college roommate as I examined a few expression lines on my forehead in the mirror. I thought I was being funny. I guess I thought if I did get there, I would look exactly the same as I did then. And those expression lines were kinda cute.

Well, guess what? Forty-something years later, here I am at the entrance to the “grace years.” Now when I look in the mirror there are laugh tracks and expression lines all over the place.

Now that I’m eligible for Social Security, I’m fascinated by that image and the transformation that has taken place over the decades.

Several women I know have chosen to assist Mother Nature (or thwart her), with the help of a plastic surgeon. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s just not for me. But who doesn’t want to look their best as they age?

So I began looking at older women I admire with a new eye — especially those who show their aging face proudly. And I noticed something I hadn’t before. They aren’t all gorgeous, but because they stand tall, move gracefully and lift their gaze, they are very attractive. I decided to make a real effort at improving my posture.

This is no simple matter. I’ve been working for a number of months now to correct six decades of slouchy habits, develop a stronger core to support my spine and lengthen tight muscles and ligaments. With the help of some wonderful women at Pilates Mind and Body in La Mesa, I’m hopeful.

Owner Rebecca Pagdan, a classically trained Pilates instructor, is also a licensed physical therapist who assures me improving posture is still possible at my age. Not easy, but I’m making it my New Year’s resolution to keep trying.

Are you also resolved to improve your fitness, strength or posture in 2015? There is no shortage of resources to help you in the La Mesa area. Many privately owned Pilates, yoga and fitness studios offer reasonably priced programs, and inexpensive classes are also available through the East County YMCA, the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Center, the La Mesa Adult Enrichment Center, Grossmont Adult School and Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District’s Continuing Education programs.

In fact, the La Mesa Community Services Department is offering an eight-week series of Pilates mat classes for adults this spring that average less than $15 a week. Pilates not your thing? They also offer cardio classes, yoga and “boot camp” fitness courses to name a few. But hurry to sign up; all of these less expensive options fill up early!

Someone commented recently that I appeared taller than they remembered. I hope that means I’m making progress. I’m truly glad to be approaching the “grace years.” I’ve had a rich and fulfilling life so far, and look forward to the next phase. But I want to do it with my back straight and head held high.

Find all the great fitness programs offered by the city of La Mesa at (click on “Spring 2015 Rec Guide” and scroll through their booklet).

—Pam Crooks is the founding editor of La Mesa Courier and lives in Mt. Helix. You can reach her by email at

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