Last week my senior tennis partner and I were warming up on the court with our 20-year-old opponents. Wow--they could have been my grandchildren! So, I said to my partner in an attempt to motivate us both: "Age and experience beat youth and enthusiasm." His response was: "That's nice, but I'd rather we had "Youth AND Experience" on our side!” We knew we were old farts, but we were experienced and healthy, so using craft and cleverness, we went on to win the match.
Our opponent "grandchildren" kept calling us both "Sir" throughout the warm ups and match. This was unsettling--we didn't know if they were showing respect, or if they meant it as a veiled put down, designed to do us fogies permanent psychological damage. Anyway, as we think back, it motivated us and helped make our WIN more satisfying. Thanks "kids!"
Proud to be winning "grandfathers," our team also called us "Sir." But as we laughed, drank our beer, took our ibuprofen, and ate our donuts, the elephant appeared on the court (you know--the one that often appears “in the room!"). The elephant said: "Yep, you won today, but how many good tennis years do you old farts have left?” We both felt "ground rush," that falling sensation you get just before hitting the ground, the end of the line, the dirt nap, the last sunset.
Since we did care, we had to ask ourselves, what exactly are our options? Elephant aside, we could just do nothing--get worse with age, fantasize about the "glory daze" and muse about the kids who called us "Sir." Or, we could do something about it, like improve our game and not "go softly into that good night." We decided on door number two…but now what?
We needed a senior game plan that would keep it fun and allow us to actually get better with age. Since passing time is not in our favor and we really do want to postpone the “fatal impact,” we divided our game plan strategy into three areas: 1) Learn and execute better game strategy, 2) Practice proper stroke mechanics and effective habits, and 3) Get younger next year…hmm, the impossible dream--why not? With high hopes AND a solid plan in place, Let the games begin! Just think, next year we will have "Youth AND Experience" on our side!
Our assignment was to find the "easiest and least costly way," then report back to our team. We Googled, Tweeted, and E-Mailed in our quest to learn more about healthy, active aging. We visited our local senior centers to find out what our peers were doing to avoid the elephants. We looked at pills, liquids, books, videos and attended seminars. Voila! We found the information and guidance we needed for our game plan: Surprise, Surprise! We would use nutrition and exercise to up the level of our health and fitness.
Half afraid to report back and become the messengers that got shot, we told our team mates that there was "bad news and good news:" “Getting older is inevitable, but getting old is NOT!” My partner and I, along with our team, and loyal fans are all going to die with age. That’s a fact! But what will we do in the meantime? Get better with age? What a concept! Since we are not Olympic or professional caliber players or athletes, we still have some wiggle room to actually improve over the next 30-50 years, so why not spend the time trying? And, hopefully, we will even encourage the rest of the team and our loyal fans to join us. By golly, we are going to show those young "Whipper-Snappers" and ourselves what lean, mean old fogies can really do!
Tennis is only the beginning. Softball, bowling, bicycling, swimming and playing with our real children and grandchildren will be more enjoyable. We can enter events at the Gwinnett Senior Golden Games, maybe the Georgia Golden Olympics and National Senior Games. We'll have more energy to learn new stuff, surf the ocean and the web, dance with our wives, walk on the beach, or even sleep better, if we want to. Finding the cure for the common cold might be a stretch, but we'll sure have fun along the way!
Yep, we Boomers and seniors are getting older, but we don't want to get old! In fact, we look for ways to improve, to fill our one pound bags with two pounds of living every day: Healthy aging 'R Us! We continue to find ways to keep it fun, cuz when it’s fun, others will join in in the celebration of healthy active aging.
Here we are at National Healthy Aging Month, and we propose that healthy aging is becoming popular, and fashionable--the chosen lifestyle. Tennis anyone?
As photo journalists, public speakers and Seniors, we promote Active Positive Lifestyles and Healthy Aging in America. If you would like us to promote your event or speak with your group or organization, please contact us…we would love to hear from you!
Sheri and Bill Eppright,
Positive Public Image, Inc.