I went country-western dancing again last Sunday evening with a group of young savvy senior singles. Sundays are when the older set goes dancing, you know. It’s fun watching the old folks get out on the dance floor especially since they haven’t gotten the message that they’re old yet. Women still dress to please men at the dance club. One woman caught my eye as she colorfully two-stepped across the dance floor in her tight sequined pants and shimmering turquoise top. She looked good and she knew it. Another gal, an escapee from the Red Hat Society, stood out about the sea of heads with her red wide-brimmed cowboy hat.
It’s easy to identify the couples who have spent a lifetime together. They move as one on the dance floor. It was hard not to secretly sigh as I watched them, wishing I’d been able to have a lifetime of dancing with my loved one. I also wondered why I was there, especially since I’m not that good a dancer. Still, I accepted every request to dance, even being silly enough to get out there and do the twist. (My hip wasn’t too happy with me about that one the next few days.) But when I started getting out of breath, had to use my inhaler, and realized I couldn’t follow most of the gentlemen I was dancing with, I told myself that this is something I shouldn’t be doing again.
But two images from that night remain in my mind taunting this decision: An old man, back hunched and feet shuffling to a nearby table, asked a young woman to dance. She graciously accepted. His lined face broke into a wide smile and while his back remained rounded; his feet became alive when they hit the dance floor. A dance turned into an instant shot of youthfulness with little side effects. I saw another scene that made my heart warm, a woman obviously in her 80’s beaming as a young cowboy gently two-stepped her across the dance floor. When the dance was over, she leaned against him for support on their way back to her table, her face flushed with joy and youth. She now had a story to tell and something to dream about again.
Maybe if I take some dance lessons….
Sunday, August 7, 2011
I missed blogging last Sunday but I had a good excuse. No A/C in a record-breaking Texas heat wave tends to divert all creative thinking into strict survival mode. The week before that I suffered a computer virus. OMG! With the famine in Southern Somalia, the heat wave, and the computer virus, doomsday cannot be far behind, can it? Of course not but I will admit to having a full-fledge meltdown of “what if?” for a minute or two before I called the air conditioning repair man for the third time.
I also turned 65 since my last blog – a number I mentally was terrified of. Surprise of surprises—I didn’t vaporize into my grandmother as I feared. In fact, just the opposite. Unplanned and unexpectedly, I’m finding 65 to be freeing. All of a sudden, “what will they think?” has been replaced with “who cares what they think?”. So who cares if the adorable sleeveless top I fell in love with shows my old lady arms? It makes me feel pretty and that’s what counts. So what if I went boot-scooting last Sunday evening with friends and danced until I was breathless (which was about 2/3 through the first dance)? I had a blast and I didn’t have a heart attack. Who cares that I can’t touch my toes in my exercise class? I’m content to keep on showing up at class and so is the instructor.
Was I trying to find my youth by going to a Harley Davidson Garage Party to support a friend’s daughter’s marketing event? No way. But you know what? It was interesting, entertaining, and I saw a Harley Davidson jacket I really, really want. I attended a stimulating panel discussion on To Kill a Mockingbird this week so I think I have a healthy balance. Now if I can start eating healthy and keep on exercising and somehow stay cool in this Texas heat wave, I will keep looking for more opportunities to enjoy life at 65. It won't be fast lane but it's going to be enough for me to become a cool 65!