Age changes your ways of thinking about doing the things you enjoy. When I was in my 20s, I didn’t think beyond my 20s. I just did the things that people in their 20s do. Of course, I’m nearly 60 now. Things have changed.
I want to be Gene GeBauer.
Gene GeBauer is a 75-year old tap dancer, according to an e-mailed press release sent to me recently. He is one of the individuals profiled in a new book “50 Athletes Over 50 Teach Us to Live a Strong, Healthy Life” by Don McGrath.
The author writes about athletes from throughout the world. These are athletes who, at an advancing age, “participate in a wide variety of activities including running and cycling to bodybuilding and even dance.”
OK, I don’t necessarily want to tap dance. I don’t think anybody wants to see me tap dance — at any age. You have to have a little bit of musical rhythm and talent and good foot-floor coordination to tap dance. One of the things I’m counting on, in fact, is that the older I get, the more I develop the wisdom not to tap dance in my 70s, at least not in front of anybody who knows me and can bring it up in some mocking manner when we both get into our 80s.
But, I like the 75-year-old part. And I like idea of doing something at that age other than sitting in your living room and watching “Dancing With the Stars.”
Of course, I’m nearly 60 now. My 70s don’t seem all that far away anymore.
Age changes your ways of thinking about doing the things you enjoy. When I was in my 20s, I didn’t think beyond my 20s. I just did the things that people in their 20s do. I can’t give you many specifics. It was a long time ago. I don’t remember what all of those things were.
When I got into my 30s, I started worrying about doing those things. I began to wonder if I was still doing the things that I did in my 20s as well in my 30s as I did them the decade before. I was pretty sure I was, but by my 40s, I was pretty sure I was wrong.
It turns out that a guy turns some kind of athletic corner in his 40s. When I got to my 40s, I knew that if wanted to still be doing things into my 50s, I had to come up with some new things. So I started playing less basketball and doing more biking. I started jogging less and hiking more. I gave up tennis and took up golf.
I used to think that I wanted to still be golfing in my 60s. Over recent years, I’ve wanted to still be boating in my 60s. In summer, I wanted to still be biking in my 60s and in winter, I wanted to still be snow skiing in my 60s.
I’m almost 60 now and still doing things, with no indication that I’m going to stop in the next few months. Certainly, I still have things to do in my 60s. But somewhere in my 50s, somebody upped the ante.
“Sandy Scott, 69, who broke a vertebrae at age 65 and four years later won a state cycling 20K championship.” the e-mail about McGrath’s book revealed. And, “Linda Quirk, who ran seven marathons on seven continents at age 55 ... in 2010, plans to run across four of the world’s largest deserts.”
Desert running. That’s got to be harder than tap dancing.
I want to be Linda Quirk.
Gary Brown writes for The Repository in Canton, Ohio. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.