At the age of 48, I learned to surf in Barbados. I knew that I would never master the sport at this age and that was freeing. I could do it for exhilaration and pure joy. I could be a kid again.
Last year when the waves died, I learned to free dive. There is a set of wrecks in Carlisle Bay, not a 10-minute drive from my home on the South Coast. The ships have created an eco-system of colorful tropical fish, rays, and turtles. Once I learned to control my breathing, I discovered the weightless freedom and calm of being surrounded by the ocean without a care in the world.
Kev, by author name Black Cousteau, takes the most beautiful freediving pictures
Recently, I went on a couple of night dives. I was hesitant but my friend Kat (whose video is attached) said that she would hold my hand ; ) I spent a lot of time snorkeling on top and sticking close to others. I am a recovering control freak. It was unnerving to jump into dark waters lit only as far as my torch light. It was also magical. There is another world of marine life that come out to play at night.
I have decided to take up skateboarding, at the age of 49. When Lorena and I were in Toronto, we bought surf skateboards/carvers. I was too scared to try until this week. It is one thing to fall off your surfboard in the water, crashing out on cement is another. Richard, my surf friend, literally held my hand and I stepped on the board and rolled. Paul, at the Katif skate park, taught me the baby steps so that I will never need all the protective gear I have on! (see video below)
I bought the board because they tell me that skateboarding in the off-season is going to help me surf when the waves come back. I got on the board to push myself into something that I was scared to do. Not to punish myself, but because I knew that I would love it -the exercise, learning a new sport, and acting like a kid again.
It is not about Barbados – I could have skateboarded in Canada. But here I have found myself surrounded by adults who want to have fun. People that have decided that “at their age” they want to be a kid again. Lorena and Conrad call it Living Your Best Midlife Crisis. Some buy a convertible, we buy boards.
My cousin Shawna is a chiropractor. In a recent Instagram post @elevatewomenshealthcentre, she wrote this:
Strength training is important throughout your whole life. We lose muscle as we age not because we age, but because we stop doing all the things we did that built muscle when we were younger!
Think about it. When was the last time you went on the monkey bars? Did gymnastics or ballet? Played soccer or rugby?
Think about it. When is the last time that you whooped with joy? That you were bursting with excitement to show others a picture of something that you had taken?
When did you last fall on your ass but got up with a smile and proclaimed, “Damn, that didn’t work but it sure was fun trying!”?
I can tell you exactly when I felt all these things in the last couple of weeks. It is not about being in Barbados. It is the joy of being a kid again. #bestmidlifecrisis
The waves may be small but the water is beautiful at Drill Hall beach