In Nora Ephron's best-selling book, I Feel Bad About My Neck, she laments the sorry state of her 60-something neck: "Our faces are lies and our necks are the truth. You have to cut open a redwood tree to see how old it is, but you wouldn't have to if it had a neck," she writes.
"Every so often I read a book about age, and whoever's writing it says it's great to be old. It's great to be wise and sage and mellow; it's great to be at the point where you understand just what matters in life. I can't stand people who say things like this. What can they be thinking? Don't they have necks?"
You can do yoga at any age -- really! It's just a matter of picking what type of yoga you do and working within your abilities.
It might even help you age better, keeping you flexible and building strength through low-impact moves.
“We lose about a half-pound of muscle per year for each year we’re not regularly engaged in resistance training,” says Jessica Matthews, assistant professor of exercise science at Miramar College in San Diego. Strength training also helps keep your bones strong.
With rueful humor, she writes about smoothing her face with Restylane and Botox, reading in large type, and grieving the deaths of beloved friends. Ultimately, Ephron concludes, "The honest truth is that it's sad to be over sixty."
Yes, getting older is rife with emotional landmines, gerontologists say, including fears of losing one's independence or getting a serious illness. Aging gracefully isn't always easy, but attitude matters a lot, experts say.
"For some reason, our society is very obsessed with pointing out negative aspects of aging," says Susan Whitbourne, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is also the past president of the American Psychological Association's Division on Aging.
But Whitbourne cautions, "Don't get bogged down in all the hype about aging. Once you start thinking about it, it can drive you mad. There's nothing you can do; the clock is going to tick away."
Of course, not all seniors are pessimistic. Some, such as Kirt Spradlin, don't care a whit about what their necks look like.
The great-grandfather is one of those vigorous and optimistic elders who astounds his peers. Naturally, he tires more easily and has to take things slower, he says. But having battled prostate cancer, the California man relishes every single month that life affords him. When asked his age, he proudly replies, "79 and a half."