One of my goals for retirement is to stay open-minded, open-hearted, and open to new experiences. In a previous post, I mentioned that tightly-guarded look I’ve seen in many mature women. With clenched jaw, tense shoulders and narrowed eyes, they seem perpetually on guard, lest someone take away something from them, like yappy little dogs snapping at anyone who comes to close to their stash of chew-toys. You know the type. No one wants to pet these pests, for fear of being bitten.
Me, I’m more of a galumphing doofus type: say, a golden retriever. At least, that’s how I am on my best days. That’s not to say that I’ll want to play with every ball or Frisbee that comes my way, but I’ll try to at least give them a sniff. The older people I like the best, and strive to emulate, are those who cheerfully, playfully try new things. These are the active older people I see playing pickle ball or dancing at the gym, wearing silly hats at the Daffodil Parade (it’s a Tacoma thing), dancing to blues music at Jazzbones (one of our favorite live music venues), dressing up with a glamorous sense of humor at the theater, playing pool and darts at the neighborhood tavern, and chatting up strangers and neighbors.
Now, I don’t mean those aggressive types who loudly insist that they’re just as cool, hip, and trendy as the young dogs—like that annoying neighbor dog who never stops barking. “Hey, hey, hey—I’m not old! See my cool phone? My Lululemon pants? My hip-hop playlist? My thong?”
OK—getting a little silly with the doggie metaphors here. What I’m trying to wrap my words around is that open, engaged-with-the-world quality that I find so attractive in older people. And something I need to be open to is a different way of being in the world, now that my knees, my back, and my stamina will no longer allow me to boogie all night long. That’s cool—this old dog will stretch out for a snooze on the couch. I’ll be ready to chase the Frisbee again in just a bit. Life is good.