|By Linda Grassa
We were stopped at the intersection when she pulled up in the lane beside us. We were both looking at her.
“You should get one of those,” my husband of 40 years said to me. “You’re not serious.” “Yes, I am.” “Are you nuts? You know I’ve always been afraid of them.” “It would be so much fun to ride to work.” “Be quiet, Rick.” Two weeks later, “Nellie” my 49cc Yamaha Scooter, was in our garage.
When do you begin to stop doing things? At what age does an adult say “I better not do that”? Nellie entered my life while I was in my mid-fifties and had realized limits were beginning to fence me in. I’d set a cautious standard for myself – a line drawn to prevent mishaps and failures. After all, there are things older people just “shouldn’t” do. This disabling caution sneaked into my decision making when apparent changes in my body developed and I realized I was becoming one of those older people. Quick squats to retrieve items were avoided; loosening jar lids converted to husband-only tasks; eyestrain to read increased; sense of smell decreased; and honing of listening skills became necessary to hear normal conversations. Fear to do anything that could advance this decline or jeopardize what still worked led me to draw the line of prevention and not do things I just shouldn’t do.
But being a late bloomer who progressively got braver through her 30’s, reaching this barrier was deflating and halted the spontaneity I’d come to embrace. Wait a minute, right thinking kicked in one day. This isn’t aging, this is plain fear. You too can do what ‘they’ do. My Creator and Sustainer (God) enlightened me that I had separated Him from aging and restricted the joy-filled life He’d given me. Not only had I chosen to stop enjoying life’s pleasures and learning, I was dishonoring Him. My translation of His Word to me was “baloney!”
Jesus Christ died for me. He made it clear that fear is not of Him and abundant life doesn’t stop at a certain age.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
He renewed my mind and empowered me with inner and outer strength I had known at other scary times when I cried out to Him. How freeing it was once again to enjoy my aging body and mind while seeking out new challenges. This life turning point was a growth spurt that shot me over the fence and across the preventive line of protection.
Do not be wise in your eyes, fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh and strength to your bones.
Things I often thought I’d like to try became everyday activities. I learned to play chess, took piano lessons, and enrolled in a sculpting class. As God increased my confidence, He expanded my interests and conquered my lifetime fears.
I bought a compound bow and competed weekly with my husband at a target range. After all, a woman of adventure can sit only so many times at the archery range watching her husband shoot the target until she realizes that she could do it too! I even learned how to fly fish, tie flies, kayak, and shoot a shotgun, pistol and rifle.
Nellie was the greatest part of my adventure. “Fun to drive to work” was an understatement. It was like flying.
After 6,000 miles of 25 mph open-air close-up escapades of the Master’s creation, I sold my flying machine and bought a shotgun. Nellie stayed in Florida with her new owner. She wasn’t built for the gravel-dirt runways of our Pennsylvania mountaintop retirement home.
But God’s intention to keep me flying didn’t diminish. Any you shouldn’t do that thoughts are eliminated by ejecting snow from my parallel turns, cold spray of whitewater rapids, and odor from a spent shotgun shell flying from my semi-automatic Benelli after powdering another clay bird. And talk about health to my flesh and strength to my bones – when the vacuum feels heavier, stairs seem steeper, or snow too deep, I hear God tell me this is another opportunity to work that body.
So now how do I respond to the question, “Aren’t you afraid to try that at your age?” Secure in His promises, I say no with confidence. It’s God’s answer to my prayer that I not let fear prevent me from enjoying an abundant life as I age toward my eternal home.
It’s beginning to snow – I’m heading for the slopes!
Fitness tips from Cody Sipe, 50+ Department Editor
GO AHEAD YOU CAN DO THAT AT YOUR AGE
RE-KINDLE AN OLD FLAME – Chances are good that there is something you used to really enjoy when you were younger that you have just fallen away from over the years. Dancing? Hiking? Skiing? Basketball? Tennis? Whatever it is now is a great time to fall in love with that activity all over again. You will wonder why you ever stopped doing it in the first place.
RE-INVENT YOURSELF – What have you always wanted to do or be that you couldn’t because of family and job responsibilities? Do you have a passion for good food? Enroll in some (healthy) cooking classes. Love the water? Learn to scuba dive. Enjoy animals? Take up horse riding. Always imagined that you would be an avid golfer but never took the time to learn how to play? Then take some lessons and go to the driving range. You are not defined by the past but rather by your vision of yourself for the future.
RE-IMAGINE THE POSSIBILITIES – If you find yourself saying “I could never do that at my age” you are simply holding yourself back from some awesome life experiences. People do all sorts of things at all ages and you can too. From sky diving to whitewater rafting to hiking the world’s longest cave (which is what my friend David Ridings is preparing to do …at the age of 79!) to something a little more tame…you can do it. Don’t let your own stereotypes of getting older hold you back.
RE-NEW YOUR STRENGTH – Some adventures require that you are in good shape in order to enjoy them. So get ready for those opportunities by exercising regularly. This should include strength, cardio and balance training performed weekly. Not only will it prepare your body but it will strengthen your mind. Research shows that people gain confidence in their own abilities when they exercise regularly.
RE-STRUCTURE YOUR PRIORITIES – You may enjoy a lot of sedentary activities – like reading books, watching TV, making crafts, making hand-made fishing “flys” or writing. There is no need to eliminate these activities from your lifestyle but if they are dominating your time then a change is needed. Exploring new opportunities means breaking away from the status quo and some of us have a very difficult time doing that. Commit to removing these typical standard options from your life for a week or two in order to force yourself into seeking out new adventures. You will thank yourself later.
What the Lust For Life means to Linda Grassa
The lust for life that makes me look good, feel good, and be good is all God’s work. Left to myself, I am an enemy to the only one who can lift me up out of the world’s seductive force to feed my greedy desires. God, aligning my desires with His will, empowers me to submit to Him and resist the devil. By His grace, my lust for life uncovers His riches, blessing me and honoring Him.
IT'S YOUR TURN
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