I was driving home from soccer last night, and my friend said something to me that stuck. We were talking about getting dressed up all wild and crazy for parties or whatever the occasion might bring. She said some of her friends won’t dress up anymore because they need to “act their age.” They prefer to go out for dinner on a night of celebration. What the f**k? Who wrote the instructions on how a person should act at any age… and frankly, who cares?
I had my daughter at 39 years old because for the first time in my life, I was emotionally healthy enough. I was ready to be a great mom because of the life lessons I had learned and the immense knowledge I had about everything. I knew at 38 that the gong was going off, so if I wanted to bring a child into this world, it was now or never. Fast forward, I have a beautiful soon-to-be 17-year-old daughter.
I remember picking her up at a park from a birthday party for one of her little boy-friends early in elementary school. As I approached the party, I overheard one of the little guys say, “Hannah, your grandma is here.” Before I even had a chance to react, Hannah proudly stood up and said, “that’s not my grandma, that’s my mom!” You tell him, Hannah. His mom had him just out of high school. Of course, I appeared to be older than his mother.
Over the years, the fact that some people might see us as older parents hasn’t had any effect on our daughter. She knows that we are much more active than most of the parents she has ever met, and she is proud of it. Sometimes, she even has a hard time keeping up with us; especially me because I am a really fast walker. The thing is, she knows I can out run, out play, out ski and outlast most of the other parents she knows. She is very proud of that.
I was fortunate enough to work in the store during her years in junior high school; it was so sweet how she loved bringing up all of her friends to introduce them to me. She was never one of those kids that didn’t want her parents around. She was quite the opposite. She was and has always been happy to show us off; she wants all of her friends to meet us. She knows I am crazy, and I will most likely do things that will embarrass her. It’s almost as if she wants me to each and every time.
When I was celebrating my 50th birthday at a cabin in Roslyn, WA with some good friends, we went out to a bar to continue the party. As we were sitting there, a group of older looking ladies came in with their friend who was also turning 50 that day. When she was pointed out to me, I was stunned. The 50-year-old looked like she was at least 80! Honey, if you look and act as young as you feel, you will turn back the clock. If you want to be old, you dress and act the part, so be it. It’s a choice.
I was asked at 50 years old if I wanted to play indoor soccer. I had been watching my daughter play soccer for years and years, I never once even kicked a soccer ball. The moment they asked me to play, I immediately said “yes!” The day before I showed up, I was shaking in my shoes. I knew I was going to look like a fool, but I didn’t care. Seconds after I took to the field, I was enjoying my new life-long hobby. I haven’t missed many Mondays in 5 years of playing. I am actually the organizer and facilitator of our Monday night because I refuse to let it slip away. I make sure we are there every Monday night!
On the other hand, trying to get new players is like pulling teeth. Ladies that we ask from in their 20’s to in their 50’s are scared to death to try it. Many of these are people who like to work out and get in their exercise as much as possible. What they don’t realize is, on a soccer Monday, they will burn close to 1,000 calories and run over 5 miles within 80 minutes. As you are laughing and enjoying the company of a group of great women, you forget you are working out. The sad thing is, they don’t care. They would rather not try it because, as I thought, they may look like a fool. Who cares?
Today, I feel like I am the best version of myself, more than ever before at any age. I feel better, I am in the best shape of my life, and I am starting new adventures. Tomorrow will be yet another day for change and new experiences.
Life is short. You have to go out there and live it. You can sit on the sidelines and watch everyone else do it day after day, but don’t you feel like you are missing something? There are cliffs that you can jump (or in my case, dive) off. There are trails to be hiked, rivers to be rafted, snow to be skied, rocks to be climbed, hoops to be shot, songs to be sung, roles to be acted out and goals to be made. How can you go through life not trying each and every one of these things? Granted, if you try it, and you find it’s not your thing, perfect! You tried! But at least try!
You can’t wait until your next lifetime to live. It is your body; it is your existence. Don’t sit meekly afraid of being judged. Don’t give two cents about what anyone thinks about how you live your life. Try something new each and every day. Go out and play. Get dressed up. Don’t be on your deathbed thinking about all of the “If I’d only….” because then, clearly it’s too late.
If there is a published guideline out there somewhere dictating how people should act at any age, it’s time to burn it. Act young, stay young. It’s as simple as that. If anyone would ever tell me that I need to act my age, honey, I already am! You are as old as you feel. If you want to be 50 and feel 80… more power to you!
If anyone ever sees me acting even slightly old, please give me a quick slap on the backside!