Have you ever looked over the fence and into the past? Could you hear yourself, see yourself and feel your body? Maybe you were a college “athlete” that excelled in tennis and today you marvel at the legs of the youth bashing balls back and forth.
Have you heard questions from the youth in your life that resembled “I wonder what happens to old people who were athletes?” or “Are there clubs for old people to act that can’t act anymore?” Maybe you were that 20 something year old that could never imagine 50 something year olds living a life as an athlete, artist, actor, dancer, or combination of all of these worlds. Maybe you have struggled with seeing beyond what was, instead of who and what can be.
My ears stung as I fell asleep Saturday night to these very questions my wonderful young cousin posed. The next day, I carried those feelings of aging into the park. And then, like many times and situations before, it was time to reframe the questions and come up with answers that made sense in the moment. And yes, 30 some odd years ago, I too had been that same 20 something year old that probably forced someone older to realize they were no longer anywhere close to 26.
What happens to old people? Let’s see, my father has shot his age in golf twice and is one heck of an athlete today. He was always mentally superior on the court and rarely lost. I don’t think I ever beat him. My mentor and dear friend is learning to re-train her muscles in ways neither of us ever imagined. She is the ultimate athlete. My friends that have struggled with chemo or live and work in a wheelchair exercise far more than I could ever imagine and as such are incredible athletes. Most of the people in my life today identify as productive, creative and active individuals, with challenges. Life just is full of challenges and if we choose, opportunities.
As the photo suggests, there was a time when I was on top of my tennis game and today, well, I resemble all the “ordinary” athletes that walk, shuffle, or run in the park, only with each step, I am so grateful to have reached this age and still have the abilities I have.
As for the actors, dancers, artists, I can assure you that spending time with my friends that are “disabled”, but pure artists has allowed me to unleash every creative stroke that was locked inside. My friends with different, but very deep and meaningful skills are re-introducing me to pure love and friendship.
So what happens when we age? Well, IF we are lucky we experience all of the who and what life has to offer. Today seems like a good day to experience a different frame of thinking and being. Once we see differently we can create solutions in a way that impacts far more than we ever imagined. Try taking a break from the routine and experiencing a learning journey.