I turned 60 a few weeks ago. “Turned” is not exactly the word though. Turned implies I executed some action, such as “turned a page in a book” or “turned to face the speaker”. This particular “turning” was void of choice. I believe it would be more correct to say I “involuntarily submitted.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I have some major issue with age. I’ve actually taken very little notice until I turned 50, and then I became acutely aware that time was finite. No longer did I feel I had “all the time in the world” to accomplish all I wanted to do in life. I decided right then and there to use my birthday each year to choose, and attempt to do, one thing that I had either, always feared, or that I had always wished to do in my lifetime.
It’s actually been quite fun. One year I hiked with llamas, another year I bought a Chinese Crested Hairless puppy.
The year I chose to learn to knit socks, my doctor told me that it might a bit too sedentary and I might consider pairing it with a more vigorous activity. (Leave it to a doctor to rain on your parade!)
Another year, it was horseback riding — an extremely fun year full of lessons and riding but my fear of falling kept me from progressing very far. I was obsessed with finding the perfect horse that desired nothing more than walking/trotting and becoming my BFF. In the end, I had to accept that my fears were not to be conquered and other than choosing a nearly dead horse, this was one dream that just wasn’t going to pan out.
Not all my choosings have been easy. One year I decided to learn to kayak. Probably not a big undertaking to most, but to me it was huge. I have a fear of water and consequently am a non-swimmer. (Now before any of you suggest that I deal with that fear one of these years, I want you to know that I’ve already made the attempt … many times) Learning to kayak, was more than learning to paddle. I took a kayak survival course in which I had to purposely tip my boat over (with me being inside), flip my boat upright and then climb back in! Thank God, for PFD’s (personal floating devices which in my day were just referred to as “life jackets”). Let’s just say, I survived that training and, thank God, never had to use it! I found I liked my kayaking the same way I like my swimming — I am able to enjoy a slightly-comfortable experience as long as the water is calm and no one else is in the near vicinity.
Even more difficult than my kayaking experience was the year I decided to track down, and apologize to, an elementary classmate whom I had been unkind to — like I said, sometimes I chose things I feared.
This year I’ve chosen two activities — both Caribbean inspired. Returning home, I realized how much I missed our daily bike rides, so I’ve tuned up my vintage Cannondale mountain bike and started to ride again. Yesterday was my first outing and I managed 8 miles. Thank heavens the area out here in Everson is basically flat, much like Puerto Viejo. What was missing was my biking partner, Mr D, and the ability to pull over at any time to take a quick swim in the warm Caribbean water before continuing on. I’m hoping we’ll find an affordable bike for Mr D but not holding out much hope for the other missing piece.
My second choice is to get serious about learning Spanish. Before we left for Costa Rica this year, I used a computer program to learn the basics but I found I was so self-conscious I rarely used my newly learned skills once in Costa Rica.
Come to find out, talking to a computer is very different from talking to a living, breathing, Spanish-speaking person! (I know … duh?) So on that note, I’ve decided to enroll in a beginning Spanish class. I have some concerns with how successful I will be. Whereas, I believe it’s important to have a positive attitude when attempting any task, I find myself wavering as to how successful I could possibly be. The truth is, it’s a pretty common daily experience for me to now pause during a conversation mid-sentence searching for a common ENGLISH word that has totally escaped me!! With that said, can I really expect that I will be able to tackle a whole NEW language? Well, I’m about to find out. Wish me luck!