Marion M.

Austin TX

Vivo Member Since January 2022

Marion M

Marion knew that when she retired, she wanted to embrace activity, joy and adventure. In early February, after a forty-year career and twelve months of planning, she took the leap. Marion sat down with us to tell us how it’s going


Her New Chapter

This is a time of contentment and self-direction and being okay with life just rolling out how it does. My last workday was on a Friday and on Saturday morning I started as a docent for the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center whose mission is to inspire the conservation of native plants. So, it wasn’t like falling off a cliff. I just rolled and thought, ‘Marion, I don’t know how you figured that out,’ but it worked.


My approach is to say yes to opportunity. I’m living a life with wonderful purpose and am involved in things that mean a lot to me. Vivo is a very, very big part of that because I get to say yes to opportunities that I might not have said yes to otherwise.


Staying Active with Vivo

I live in Austin, Texas, and this is a very active community. It’s not okay to say, ‘Gosh, you know, I’m just a couch potato.’


Whatever activity you do, you must be able to articulate it because the question is going to come up. It’s going to come up more than what you do for work or what you had for lunch. When I moved here, in 2006, I joined a running group and a cycling group and I had a fitness routine. I was also the director of a charity cycling event for eight years.


In the fall of 2021, I tore my right ACL boarding a plane. The recovery was a massive amount of physical therapy (PT).  I went three or four times a week to develop leg strength. When I graduated from PT, I reached out to a peer in the community and said, ‘I need to maintain my strength and balance, but I also need to do so in an age-appropriate way,’ and she recommended Vivo.


I took the free introductory class and spent a lot of time talking with Marcy (Marcy Leach, Vivo Care Team). It was the squats, the lunges, the standing on one leg—everything that I had been doing in PT—it was a way of extending that level of appropriate fitness. I signed up in January 2022 and am a huge fan.


Being Healthy is Important Because

Honestly, I feel like a kid in a candy store right now. There are so many wonderful things to do. I’m part of Texas Outdoors Woman Network, Casting for Recovery and of course I’m a gardener. Active travel is one of my favorite activities. I love to camp, I love to hike, I love to visit national parks. I’ve noticed that most of the selections in my candy store relate to the outdoors. And you know, I can hold a plank for three minutes. That means that I’m going to be able to board that plane, and get in and out of that canoe, and bike all over.


I’m also an aging parent now to my daughter, and I was the kid for aging parents. Both of my parents were from a generation where girls probably didn’t take physical education. It was a different time and place and there was not an emphasis on fitness. There are a lot of things you can’t control, such as your DNA. But you can control what you eat, and you can control your activity. I think if either of my parents had been more in control of those aspects their quality of life would have been much better.


As an aging person and as someone who wants to provide a good experience for my potential caregiver, it’s what I can do. It’s a gift to me, and it’s a gift to the people that care about me.


My favorite part of Vivo

When I log on in the morning and Kelly (Kelly Spitzer, Vivo trainer) says, ‘Good morning, Marion.’ I love that. And then she says good morning to everyone as the screen starts to populate. I love being part of that community and belonging. It’s wonderful. I like in-person stuff, but with the small class size and all of us being on one screen, I feel every bit of a community that I would feel if I drove to the gym and it’s every bit the workout that I would get in an offsite location. Everyone in our class is doing interesting, wonderful things and they all live in different parts of the country. It’s a real gift. Aging people— we’re vital, active, wonderful folks. We’re all ambassadors, I think, for healthy aging.


I’m profoundly invested in maintaining my leg strength and I appreciate so much our Vivo trainers. Even yesterday, Kelly said, ‘I’m seeing that right knee turn in a little bit.’  She knows my issues and I appreciate that because I’m very dependent on having strong legs and good feet so I can say yes to all this opportunity.


And it’s not just the strength and balance. The attention to mindfulness and homework related to food. We talk about anti-inflammatory foods and protein-rich foods. These things are important for us to be thinking and talking about and I appreciate all these touches. For me, it’s an investment. I think I’m worth it. Me and my friends are worth it. I’ve been going to classes twice a week for two years and I’m going to do it for 20 more years. 


There are times when I wake up and think, I’m so grateful for Vivo. When I think about the things that I’m grateful for in life and don’t want ever to go away, Vivo is on that list.


What Lies Ahead

I have two big trips coming up. At the end of April, I’m going on a bike trip to Croatia for two weeks. I did a bike trip from Brugge to Amsterdam in 2019 and loved it. Croatia will be with the same travel company, but this time it will be with a new e-bike because I’m old enough and wise enough to know that is the way to go.


And then a Boundary Waters Wilderness canoe trip in September. I had to sort of self-talk myself into this one. It’s an opportunity to say yes. The area is a dark sky sanctuary so the hope is that I will get a chance to see the Northern Lights. Vivo makes this phase of life possible in an active, healthy way.


Myths to Dispel

We’re our own worst enemy in a lot of ways. This week, with dual tasking, we had to squat when numbers were divisible by three, and it’s been a long time since all of us were in fourth grade doing our multiplication table. But what we struggle with is our programming about, ‘Oops, oh wait, that wasn’t right.’


Kelly will say, ‘It doesn’t matter.’  And she’s right. It doesn’t matter whether you squatted on a number that was divisible by three or four. It’s the process. This is just about showing up and trying because we’re not competing with anyone. If I do three-pound weights and someone else does eight-pound weights, big deal. 


I’ve done Vivo just after foot surgery and have been in a boot doing level one. I win by being there. I don’t need to apologize because I’m not doing squats at a higher level. I think if there was a way that we could somehow deprogram ourselves from that old school thinking of right and wrong because honestly, the things you learn in life, you learn through effort. In Vivo, there is continued emphasis on, ‘We all got this and there is no wrong here.’


It’s all good in Vivoland.


Click here to learn more about the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, here to learn about the Texas Outdoors Woman Network and here for Casting for Recovery.