“Meet us at the boat launch at 6:45 a.m.”
I got up at 5:15 in the morning to drive over an hour to meet my friends for a morning of barefoot water skiing.
That’s what passion does to you. It’s the fuel that gets you through the slog so you can enjoy the things you love to do.
I met this group of friends five years ago when I first got back into the sport. Patrick, Loren, and Jenny Blake, and Ben Hough. When I met them, I was training for my first tournament. Being a deaf skier, it’s always a challenge to lipread new people and I was a bit nervous because I was such a “greenie” in the competitive aspect of the sport.
I think we were all nervous at first, but we quickly became friends because we recognized the same level of passion in the sport among all of us.
But let me back up a bit here…
At the age of 44, I felt old. I had long ago abandoned the sport of barefoot water skiing after a hard fall as a teen caused me to lose a lot of hearing–effectively rendering me deaf. My journey back into the sport was inspired by an “Old Lady.” Now, before you get all indignant about me calling her old, you should know that is actually her nickname. Judy “The Old Lady” Myers discovered barefoot water skiing when she was 53. My introduction to Judy was via the TODAY Show, which featured her at 66 years of age gliding across the water with a big grin on her face.
All of a sudden, my whole paradigm of aging shifted big time.
If this 66-year-old could take up an extreme sport at the age of 53, then what the heck was MY excuse at 44?
I didn’t have one.
Judy got me back on the water with a lesson from a two-time World Barefoot Champ and Growing Bolder captured the story here: A Mom Who Walks on Water. More of Judy’s story is here: The Barefoot Competitor.
So when I watch Ben Hough on the water, I’m inspired all over again about the possibilities that lie ahead of me in growing older. Because you see, Ben is 74 years old. Like Judy, he has the energy of a 21-year-old when he’s barefoot water skiing. Like Judy, he competes in barefoot tournaments against other 70+ year olds.
Take a look at Ben during his training:
So you know what happens when you hang out with people who are older than you and they’re doing the stuff you love to do–you become inspired. The idea of “growing older” gets replaced with the excitement of growing bolder. All of a sudden, you look forward to the years ahead instead of dreading the candles on the cake.
And that’s exactly why I hang out with the active, passionate older crowd.
No matter what age you are, you can choose a different path than the one you’re currently on if it’s not fulfilling you. And don’t tell me you’re too old, or I might have to introduce you to the story of 109 year old Alfie Date, who started a whole new career of knitting sweaters for penguins when he moved into an assisted living facility. (He passed away peacefully at the age of 110.)