Betty at the beach, 1943

Betty was my maternal grandmother, a high school track star in the 1930s. She was an avid sports fan who lived an active life well into her 80s. She cooked Sunday dinner for the extended family. She was nutritionally aware — as much as the average person could be before the information explosion that is the internet — and wouldn’t hesitate to critique our eating habits. I grew up reasonably convinced that she would outlive us all.

She survived a lightning strike in the 1920s, breast cancer in the 1960s, a back injury in the 1980s, and shingles and colon cancer in the 1990s, yet she always managed to pop back like she’d had nothing worse than a head cold. She mocked the rehab programs that she had to endure for hospital discharge because they were filled with “old people.” For her, old was less about age and more about activity level, and she had no tolerance for “old.”

Even if I turn out to be only half as tough or resilient, I’ll still be doing well. Sometimes I ponder my late-blooming athleticism and wonder what would Betty think about that?

So who am I, anyway?

I’m channeling my inner Betty.

I’m an ordinary person who tries to live a reasonably healthy, balanced life while juggling work, business travel, a preschooler, a husband and life in general. I’m not an extremist. I’m not a vegan, ultramarathoner, yogi, weightlifter, supermodel or vitamin-pusher. I am, however, a farmer’s market shopper, an amateur cook, and sometimes runner and kickboxer. I try to eat right (more or less), but I will never expel pizza from my diet.

I believe that wellness is the key to life, and that it’s easier to stay healthy than it is to fix things once they’re broken. I try to live healthy to set a good example for my son, and if I can help someone else in the process, so much the better. I will never, ever make anyone feel guilty for their weight, skill, speed or endurance, especially since my skill, speed and endurance tend to be somewhat laughable. I’m working on that.

I am a writer by profession, and have done a great deal of my work in healthcare and wellness. I once owned a yoga and Pilates studio, and have been doing Pilates since 2001. I love a good burger. I’ve runwalked six half marathons. I hated gym class and organized sports, yet I exercised through my entire pregnancy in 2006, hiking through Yosemite less than a month before giving birth to a very healthy little boy.

I’m full of contradictions. I’m a lot like you.