Geriatric Gymnastics

Back in the summer of 2020, when I started this blog, I posted a piece called I am a gymnastics addict. While everything was closed in the lockdown, I was looking through old writings I had done and came across an old journal entry. It was originally written in my early 40s introducing my introduction into the world of gymnastics as an adult in my 30s when my kids were little. Since I was starting my blog during the lockdown, I decided to post it after the five-month forced hiatus, as we returned to our training wearing masks in the summer swelter. 

The quote from my younger self below resonated most with my current self:

I want to be flipping at 50. Or 60. If I could bottle the joy I feel when I do something right, I would make a fortune, because the world would have access to ride a constant high in life, in possibility, in adrenaline.

from I am a gymnastics addict

I wrote those exuberant words in that first blog post, maybe hoping to set a prediction or expectation that I would be able to continue this kind of training through several decades. For many, it may seem like a long shot, but for me, the gym is where I feel most comfortable facing new challenges, both mental and physical. Between fighting fear factor and managing the needs of an aging body, I have learned (sometimes the hard way) to work smarter instead of harder. The last thing I need is to put my life on hold because I do something stupid and impulsive.

My gym apparatus of choice is not a nautilus machine or an elliptical; it’s a trampoline and a tumble track. It’s a series of towers and wedges and foam octagons that provide support and challenge along the “gymnastical journey.”

It’s the uneven parallel bars and balance beam that are the bane of my existence, but I still work on them, despite how weak and silly they make me feel. The gym is my playground, well-padded and as safe as it can be for an activity so inherently risky.

Looking back on my original article, I’ve decided to create a blog series about life as an adult gymnast: the highs and lows, struggles and successes. The first three installments focus on topics like social media, the process leading to skill mastery, and the responsibilities of becoming a gymnastics coach. I have so much to share with you; even if you never step foot in a gymnastics facility, most of the things I’ve learned are relevant to developing skills and strategies as you face great challenge, and I think those can be useful to everyone. I hope you glean some personal inspiration from these articles.

Life is hard. Sometimes we need some incentive to set our fears and fragile self-concept aside, and put in the extra effort to do things that make us feel uncomfortable. That discomfort is often all that sits between you and your passions.

If you read something that resonates with you, please comment and share with others. I believe that if we encourage each other, we can more fully realize our own potential.

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