I went to the Vancouver Folk Music Festival this weekend.
I hadn’t been for a few years and it struck me how the audience has aged (except for me of course). The women’s dancing arms were more wrinkled, the men found it harder to get in and out of those low festival chairs, there was a sea of silver hair. The Folk Festival used to let seniors in for free but they had to stop doing that a few years ago or they would have gone bankrupt. It is strange to be aging alongside my cohort of baby boomers.
About twelve years ago, I spent a great deal of time driving my dear, slightly-demented, mother around. There were two comments she often made, forgetting the answers each time. One was, “What is the principal industry of this town?” The other was, “Why are there so many gray haired people these days?” That was us, the baby boomers, and I think then I tried to answer that the principal industry was information (it was Vancouver) and now of course I would answer real estate.
I have a summer pastime I share with my sisters. We “swim our age.” That is, each late afternoon in the summer we swim out into the Salish Sea the same number of strokes as our ages. Then I personally paddle slowly back to shore. I think my sibs might have other routines it’s not a strict sport. It’s wonderful. Lately I’ve been wondering if there will come a time when I will start swimming my age backwards. I’m sixty-nine now – my sisters are younger – so I’ll probably be the first to have to figure this out.
I remember a couple of years ago, I was walking on the rooty trails in Cliff Gilker Park thinking lovely thoughts about how fit I am and wondering whether I would still be able to do this in ten years. A few minutes later, bang, I was down, tripped on a root. A good fall or a stubbed toe seems to be a great antidote to inflated thinking. I guess the lesson is two-fold: Yes I am aging, accept it, and just be in this lovely moment, swimming, or walking, or dancing to music.