You missed a lot if you missed the 16th annual Women’s Wellness Forum.
Maybe it was everything else going on Saturday; or just the nice weather drawing more folks to outside pursuits, but this year, the forum did not seem to have has many Rim Country women in attendance. Consequently, the forum, which offers information on a variety of health topics and wellness issues, took on a much more intimate atmosphere.
The only thing that ran short at the wonderful continental breakfast was a delicious-looking mixed fruit bowl. There was plenty of oatmeal, yogurt, toppings and fresh fruit from Vita-Mart, plus a great selection of coffees and tea from Dimi Espresso Café. Many enjoyed breakfast al fresco outside the lobby of the Payson High School Auditorium.
After the welcomes, keynote speaker Bobbie Staten took over — really took over. The North Carolina native is in her 60s, but has the energy of someone not long out of her 20s. She only sat down once while on stage, but never stopped moving. She sat down to demonstrate the very common, but not-often-demonstrated, trauma of putting on pantyhose — plus size pantyhose.
“The makers think plus size means we get taller (the pair she had in hand were as long as she was tall), not wider.”
The reason she was talking about pantyhose? Staten was telling the story of her first “corporate” speaking engagement — to a group of men from IBM.
She had bought a “power suit” for the occasion and the requisite pantyhose. On stage, with her back to the audience, she said she heard this thunderous sound and the man who had hired her came bounding up on stage. He told her the back of her skirt was stuck in the top of her pantyhose.
What’s more, in order not to have a panty line showing through on her nice, new power suit (remember, these things back in the ’80s had relatively straight, tight-fitting skirts), she’d opted not to wear panties under the pantyhose. As mortified as she was, Staten said she whipped around to face her audience and said, “And you thought IBM stood for International Business Machines — now you know it stands for I’ve Been Mooned.”
She kept the audience laughing for the biggest part of her program with stories of the challenges she has faced in the course of her life — those brought about interacting with others and the ones she has brought on herself with choices she has made.
“I don’t know any of you personally, but I bet you have heard some of your stories in mine,” she said.
Noting the general age of her audience, Staten said, “Retirement is hard, if you have worked all your life. How do you stay excited if you’re retired?”
She said everyone has to discover what fuels (excites) them. “Find what you’re still hot about,” she urged.
Talking about health — diet and exercise — Staten said almost all of us know what to do if health is a personal concern, but more often than not the “all or nothing” attitude we are urged to have defeats us.
“If you get out and do the 25- to 30-minute daily walk the experts say we need at the beginning, you are going to be so sore the next day you won’t want to do it again for another two or three weeks.”
Staten said start small — even if it is just getting up and putting on tennis shoes and walking to your mail box or around your yard. “Just walking for one minute is a start and when you discover you can do that and still feel OK, you’ll probably say I can do this a few more minutes.”
She said in time, you’ll be able to do 25 to 30 minutes a day.
“Feel good to do your day,” she said. “We wait until we are in pain to change.”
Continuing to address pain and stress, Staten said everyone has stress, but everyone can do something to help make a difference in the pain and stress of those around them.
“Shine a light on someone else — tell them their haircut looks nice, that color looks good on them, you appreciate what they’re doing. Just smile at them,” she said. “Lift others up — that is what I hope I have done for you. Be kind to one another. Remember, we don’t have forever.”
Later Staten visited with forum participants at her booth in the old gym, where guests enjoyed a lunch from Gerardo’s Firewood Café and had a chance to learn about a variety of businesses, services and organizations in Rim Country.