I like to think that I’m not one to be easily ‘pigeonholed’ (that sounds like a euphemism but I promise you it’s not!) I’ve done quite a lot of different things in my life, I’ve had a variety of jobs, travelled a bit and spent short spells living in various places around the UK and the world. OK, so now you may well be ‘pigeonholing’ me as ‘unreliable’ ‘flighty’, maybe even a ‘waster’ and you might be right (but I hope not!)
I’m not one to judge others on appearance or make assumptions of their lifestyle based on their age or appearance and I would absolutely hate for anyone to do that to me. Pigeonholing a person is, in my opinion, crass. But, since turning 60 I’ve been desperately seeking just that, a pigeonhole, a pigeonhole that I can climb inside and build a nest alongside the other old birds.
I want to be part of a gang, my tribe, sharing our senior knowledge and cynicism while cheering and supporting each other on in new, exciting and adventurous challenges. Doing wild, fun things that society believes are only for the young. I want my band of geriatrics to be ‘getting it down’, gathering together in rowdy, colourful and joyous groups.
I’m not talking about hanging around in shopping centers wearing hoodies! I’m thinking we need to be getting out and doing the things we haven’t done in our younger years, held back by all the usual life restraints of money, kids, work, and of course – fear. Understandably, when you have a family to provide for, risking life and limb or even just a small injury can have a big impact on both the practical side of your life and your finances. But when you pass the big 5-0, those responsibilities are usually over or at least diminished and let’s face it, unless you know something we don’t, you are more than halfway through your life.
If I could squeeze another 20 or 30 years into this life I will be very grateful but when I think of how quickly the last 30 have gone it scares the shit out of me! It’s all gone by in a flash and I feel there’s no time for hanging about and thinking about what I might do in the future, I need to do it now and bloody quickly. All that “Act in haste, repent in leisure.” is no longer a warning to heed but has become my daily mantra. There’s not enough time for contemplating, we need to get on with it and if I get 15 or 20 years to repent – that’s a result in my book! “Never too Old, Never too late” will be my gang motto.
I’m definitely not and have never been an Adrenalin Junky but I do like a bit of excitement, something with an element of danger. When I say danger, I mean a danger of making a fool of yourself or the danger of coming home with a few cuts and bruises, nothing that might require an ambulance and definitely nothing that could leave me in need of life-support.
I’m going to compile a list of things I’d like to do and hope that along the way I will find people of my age also ‘having a go’. It won’t be a ‘Bucket List’, more a list of ‘Why Nots?’ Having already signed myself up for a couple of Triathlons this year, much of my time will be taken up with getting fit and learning to run! My days will be spent lapping the pool, wheezing my way around a defined running and cycle route while in the evening you will find me engrossed in my latest purchase Triathlon Training for this old Dummy!
And in between all this training, I’m hoping to feed my love of the water with a bit of sailing, rowing, canoeing and maybe a bit of white water rafting! In the interests of warding off the threat of osteoporosis, I’ll be looking for a senior ladies netball team (or starting my own if anyone is available?). And to challenge my fear of falling from a great height, I might try a bit of abseiling (though it’s unlikely) or maybe a small zip wire to start me off and then who knows, after a confidence boost, I might try a bit wing walking! (JOKE! that is never going to happen!)
Don’t get me wrong, I’m really happy in the company of the younger people I currently train with, I love the fun and banter. It’s just that sometimes, I’d like to be a bit nearer the front rather than the one at the rear worrying that I am holding the younger and fitter ones back. I suppose I’m after a more level playing field, for them as much as me.
Hopefully, I’ll be reporting back on the outcome of my activities and introducing you to my flock of adrenaline junky pigeons when I find them. My questions are, what will we be pigeonholed as? Is there already a pigeonhole in existence that I’ve not yet come across? If not, can you think of a suitably motivational (non-sexual or rude!) name for a bunch of over 60’s looking to make the most of life while they still can?