Recently, I stumbled upon a PBS TV show, Growing Bolder. Although it’s a show which certainly can appeal to people of all ages, it’s about shattering the stereotypes of aging, highlighting older people who are pursuing their dreams with a passion and zeal to be envied at any age. There are artists, athletes, entrepreneurs, survivors of disease and trauma, even a ninety year old woman chauffeur. Everyday people who refuse to let age define them. People who realize bold living begins right after leaving the comfort zone. On the most recent episode, a woman turning the milestone age of 60 went to a tattoo parlor, fortified by an entourage of friends, to have a peace symbol placed indelibly on her ankle. The peace symbol because she thought it wouldn’t offend anyone and because it signifies the era during which she came of age. During that same era I got married in a hayfield. However, when I turned the Big 6-0, I didn’t do anything extraordinary. So, having a birthday this week myself, I thought about what I could do to add a bold stroke to my celebration of another year down.
Now, don’t get too excited thinking I’m about off the deep end and wow you all with some fantastic adventure. There won’t be any skydiving or bungee jumping from bridges. My daredevil streak ends at riding on the back of Martin’s motorcycle. I’m also not an athlete. Martin went on a 50 mile ride on Saturday with a small peloton of other similar aged cyclists. The youngest 57; the oldest 70 something. Besides the 50 miles, they did over 4000 feet of climbing, some at a 22% grade. It would take me years of training to accomplish something like that at any age, even if I had the desire. I also have no desire to get a tattoo, although Martin encouraged me by pointing out I could probably find a reputable artist here in the Upstate. I’ve been an entrepreneur, successfully I might add, so I have no desire to start a new business again. So, what can I come up with in the next couple of days to symbolize living bolder?
As I thought about this quandary, I started thinking about what I HAVE done since turning the Big 6-0. I wanted to release my inner artist so I painted a mural on the guest room wall. By the time I did the painting, I had already tried my hand at gourd art…have a long way to go on that one. My mother was an artist with native talent she never really developed because she let age define her limitations. By the time she raised six kids, she thought she was too old to do much else. I don’t want to be my mother so I’ve jumped into finding my creative self with a living bold attitude.
Consequently, I also took up knitting. Ho-hum, you say? Well, I’ve learned knitting takes a ton of concentration, focus and some math ability. There are two stitches. Knit. Purl. But, whoever comes up with these patterns could have been a rocket scientist! Knitting is hard but with perseverance I’m now half way to my first afghan. If you see any mistakes in the picture below, don’t tell me. I already know where they are. Practice will eventually get to perfect…maybe.
While I’m no athlete, I’m also no slouch when it comes to physical activity as well as creativity in my garden. I just finished a stone wall I’ve been working on for the last year. It’s not the Great Wall of China but it entailed a lot of heavy lifting. Not only did it require moving stone, it required removing stone until just the right piece was found for any particular spot. The stone talks to you, you know, telling you if it’s a good fit for the position. Martin helped me with the really heavy pieces but since he couldn’t hear the stone talking (O.K. I already know I’m crazy), I did most of the wall myself. And that path cutting through the bank in the photo below. Well, Martin came home a couple of years ago to find me digging that out with a hand shovel. How many women, or men, for that matter, do you know who can or would dig out a path in hard, red southern clay by hand? At 59? Not many! (My better half, the sane one, laid the stone for me.) In October I also finished the requirements to become a certified Master Gardener. That certificate is my reward for one hundred hours of classroom classroom instruction and hands-on volunteering, not to mention all the reading and studying to pass the exam. Whew!
As you already know, in October Martin and I officially retired from the daily grind. And what did I do with all the questions, angst and transition into retirement? After several weeks of trying to acclimate to a major change in lifestyle, I decided writing about it would not only help me, but help others. So, instead of sitting on my hands growing older, I grew bolder and started this blog. You see, living bolder isn’t reserved for birthdays. Living bolder is for every day of our lives, no matter what our age. So what am I going to do this week to celebrate my birthday in an over-the-top way? I think I’ll just relax, enjoy a piece of cake and think about my bold life.