The brain is a funny thing, mine is a little confused. Chronologically, there may be a few people older than me at work; certainly none of the people I work with daily fall into this category. There are times I literally have to remind myself I am not 40 anymore. Parenting Leila at this stage of the game and developing friendships with the parents of her friends, also adds to the brain’s inability to remind me of my ‘real age’, whatever that means. The best part is at this age, another lesson my Dad taught me – simply free to be; authenticity is embedded; ability to use voice fully activated; hug freely; love everyone; embrace possibilities; take advantage of opportunities; and care deeply and openly. All of this has been a part of who I am since childhood; this stage of life sets the stage to fully embrace the ability to be more of who I am.
“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.”
Where am I going with this? “et’s talk about my athletic prowess at the age of 62. You know, that line above “I literally have to remind myself I am not 40 anymore.” Wasn’t anywhere on the radar when Nihad asked if I wanted to be included in the repelling adventure? Seriously, work with people who regularly work out; run long distances; travel adventurously; have extraordinary hobbies; have a genuine zest for life – just like teaching when I was their age. Living parallel lives only they are separated by two decades. Getting caught up in the stories, the enthusiasm for life, the realm of possibility makes it so easy to forget 62 is slightly different than 42; especially if working out regularly fell off the radar during the WL entrance. Saying yes, has been a part of my pattern for a number of years; so saying yes was easy. Right up until the time I was fully strapped in with helmet on head and the next step was to begin the repel. What the hec was I thinking?
Understand we were instructed on the proper way to repel; we had the best equipment for repelling; one of the top people in the field willingly shared his expertise and was right there to guide me; safety was not an issue; and I am not even afraid of heights. At this moment my brain decides to remind me I am not in shape; so all the good teaching somehow evaporates into the clouds. Within the confines of the brain compartments I am struggling with embarrassment, sadness, realization repelling may not be for me, determination, commitment, disappointment, and humour. In the meantime, the instructor and my friends are encouraging me. Well, let’s just say the first attempt at repelling was far from pretty. Got a little banged up; got stuck; thank the Lord for the helmet on my head; and Nihad was thrilled because he got an extra repel down to get the first aid kit.
In the meantime, the group was strategizing how to encourage me to go down again. We were all on the same page. Once again, my Dad entered my thought process. When I was in university I dove off the 3-metre board and landed on my back. My dad was there and insisted I get back up immediately because if I didn’t it would be unlikely there would be another dive, exactly! So as they were trying to figure out how, I was doing the same. There would be a second repel. Man, it was great!
Polar Bear Plunge, lip-syncing, bushwhacking, Tango Tower, bike riding, and the 22-day push up challenge – all of them physical; many of them added bruises and cuts to remind me of my tenacity. Joann took her life in her hands when she plunged as my partner; Kaitlyn saw the dancer in me aching to get out; Marc & Yvon foraged the bush with me to ensure I didn’t get lost; support got me up the tower; Leila was there to help me up when I fell off my bike; and the 22-day challenge ends today. I am no longer the strong athlete I once was, but she is so alive inside. She is pushing me to release her once again. And the one personal characteristic that keeps the realm of anything is possible in the place to welcome opportunities, is the ability to laugh at myself and with others.
(NB: I am well aware there are 90 year olds climbing mountains; 85 year olds participating the tri-athletic events; 70 year olds dancing. I am not there yet. Pay attention: I said not there yet. Give me time.)
Life is to be lived and this is part of the legacy I want to leave Leila.
Take time this week to physically challenge yourself.