As far as vaca goes, my husband Abe and I are total opposites. He loves to sit in his beach chair for hours and do nothing; all he needs are his headphones and a good book. Actually, he just needs his headphones. Actually, just air.
IIIIIIIII, on the other hand, am refreshingly more complex *hair flip* and require far more to keep me entertained. Therefore, this is how our communication goes at the beach — I mouth something to him pretending he can hear what I’m saying through his headphones, until he begrudgingly yanks out just one earpiece, and I hit him with:
To which he always responds: “I’m relaxing.” (No duh, buddy, you’re pruning).
So I step it up. *Eye batting* *Puppy-dog face* Please Please Pleeeeease do something with me baby honey sugarplum boobobooboobear!
“Not right now. I’m relaxing.”
Auggggh you are WORTHLESS TO ME HUSBAND! I married you to have a playmate! I am done with you! (Ok, not really, but that’s how I feel for 5 seconds).
I then pathetically resign myself to wandering the shore looking for a crab to talk to. But I mean, who wants to sit in a chair and just roast like a chicken?? I can scan a magazine for 30 minutes MAX but then I wanna liiiiive as in swim, play bocce ball, boogie board, build a sand castle, look for shells, build Noah’s Ark in the sand, whatever— ANYTHING but doing nothing.
Look, I can’t help it really. I’m an active vacationer. I’m an active person. I love yoga, pilates, hiking, biking, volleyball, and most recently off-roading (bonus: Abe hates getting wet and it just so happens I love driving through puddles. Paybacks baby ;o))
Now, I don’t want all those zippy activities to give you the wrong idea here— good ‘ole board games are life. My happy place. My zen. But alas, I run into the same sticky issue with my beach bum hubby – he happens to also hate board games and so I never. have. anyone. to. play. with!!!!!
Despite my frustration, I’m not trying to change my husband to enjoy these things. That would be preposterous!
I simply want to age him. NBD right? ;oD
….because ya know darn well Mr. Gray would take me up on that game of scrabble! HE wouldn’t leave me hanging because he loves his board games and crossword puzzles and other highly underrated sophisticated activities. Exhibit A:
That hands-behind-the-back-pose is everything.
I caught these folks in puzzle action at a resort this past weekend. (Luckily, I’ve honed my senior stalking skills to where I seem to be casually taking shots of the room. As if I’d be looking at anything else hahahahaha. *Cuz you know it’s all about that Gray, bout that Gray*) But seriously, I did leave my fancy birthday dinner to capture these snazzy seniors. Priorities.
So, we all know Mr. Gray fancies puzzles and board games and all that jazz….and that’s good stuff because those things are awesome and keep him tres sharp. BUT, why is it almost unnatural for us to picture him doing other activities– you know, as in the ACTIVE ACTIVITES?!
Well, the stereotype that exists is that Mr. Gray lacks the physical ability and/or is just not interested in being active. Unfortunately, this fixed way of thinking not only stifles our view of seniors, but I argue it also limits the access they have to doing these sorts of activities (i.e. “let’s not offer that it’s too hard for them” or “they will have a heart attack”, etc. etc.). This limits seniors and frankly, it’s demeaning. Nobody likes to be put in a box, so let’s not do that with Mr. Gray either, mmk?
There are SO many examples out there of seniors not only doing what younger adults can do, but doing MORE than what the average adult can do.
Here’s just one example. Prepare to be amazed:
As she talks about in this 2010 video, Barb Macklow finished her 1st 100 mile race at age 74. And then, in 2017, she completed her 2nd 100 mile race at age 82.
Barb with her 100 mile buckle.
Let’s take that in for moment.
ONE HUNDRED FRIGGIN MILES. I just, I just can’t even fathom this– from anyone at any age. My hubby just ran his 1st marathon (26.2 miles) in October at age 38 and I was in awe of him and the rest of the runners crossing the finish line. Super impressive stuff. Theeeen, you have this ultramarathoner who is 82 years old and ran 4x that length!!!! She ran for 2 days people. 2 DAYYYYS. I can’t even run for 20 minutes. The physical stamina. The mental fortitude. Get this woman a bigger buckle!
Now, back to my earlier point that we stereotype elderly folks as inactive…….
If you noticed in the video, Barb mentioned “the general population thinks you’re not quite right.” She’s spot on but what is that crap?? Why do we assume that Mr. Gray can’t DO challenging activities and is nuts if he/she does? While it’s true that some senior folks can’t, some CAN. And isn’t that the same with all people, of all ages? Some can do certain things, some can’t. So let’s rewire our thinking here, shall we?
Mr. Gray can run. He can jump. He can skip. He can do it all. He’s Mr. Gray.