I walk and skip and hop.
I twist and bend and squat.
I bear walk, cobra and crawl.
I handstand on the wall. (Well, I try)
No, that’s not Dr. Seuss. That’s me: Grandpa! I’m 61 years old and I move in different ways. Ways that make my wife say, “Don’t hurt yourself” and my son say, “You’re an old guy, now, pop.” I move in ways that make my grandson say, “Pa pa!”
I’m a grandpa who moves and
I want to inspire and help other “grandpas” to move, too.
I move because I want to be able to keep moving: for me, for my family and, maybe most of all, for that little guy in the picture. (He’s a year older now, so he really moves!) I move so I can pick up my grandboy and chase him around. I move so I can carry the innumerable Christmas tubs up from the basement in the winter and hook the big hanging plants up on the overhead deck beam in the summer (“Don’t hurt yourself!”).
I’m not wicked good at any of this. I’m not particularly strong. I’ve never been able to do a bunch of pushups. I’ve never run a marathon, or even a 5K race for that matter. Heck, I grew up in Massachusetts twenty minutes from the ocean and can’t even swim! I was a very overweight, inactive kid, almost always picked last in schoolyard games. I became a skinny, weak teenager and then an extremely dad-bod adult. There might be 61-year-old triathletes, powerlifters and gymnasts; that’s not me and never was. Still, I move.
Now, there IS a big reveal about me: I practiced and taught Tae Kwon Do for nearly 27 years, up until age 60. When I was 33, that big guy in the picture got me into classes along with him, a four-year-old at the time. Starting Taekwondo had not been in the plan; I HAD to start so that HE could start. At that point in my life, I was at the heaviest weight and in the worst shape I’d ever been, not that I’d ever been in any kind of shape, except maybe more vertical than horizontal.
I never stopped practicing Tae Kwon Do after that for the next 27 years, and I tested for and earned my fifth degree black belt at age 50. I’ve played with hundreds of kids, teens, adults and senior citizens. I’ve helped people go from not moving at all to doing things they never thought they would, at age 6 and age 66, just like I did.
Tae Kwon Do definitely kept me moving in certain ways, and those ways definitely changed as I got older. I’ve tried, stuck with and stopped different fitness activities over these years, and have ventured into new things even during this past year.
I started this blog so that I can share how I am active now and the changes and challenges I encounter as I age. I share what activities and resources I have found helpful. I share reasons and insights and motivations. I share lessons learned and not learned (mostly not learned; I guess I can be thick-headed).
What I most hope is that we hear from each other. I hope for a bit of community, not just me talking about me. I want all of you who have crossed milestone ages to share your reactions, experiences, insights. I’d love to see lots of comments and discussion, support and encouragement.
If you are a grandpa (or see that coming sooner than later) and DON’T really move, or don’t move much anymore, I hope this site motivates you to begin doing so, as you are able. You might be a former jock who fell into “grandpa mode” — not the good kind — way too soon. Maybe you have an injury or limitation which has caused you to check out of activity. Maybe you never were active in any way and it seems useless, or really hard, to start now. Maybe you fall somewhere in between, like most people. If you’ve been frustrated, confused or felt hopeless, I hope I — we — can help. If you’re feeling pretty lively and positive, that’s great, too!
I have found that aging, and being active while aging, is an exploration, a journey. No matter who we are, at whatever starting point, any journey, or new leg of a journey, starts with one step. One step is further than none; it’s someplace other than where you are now. The more steps we take — even if they are small steps, like a grandpa tends to take — the further we go. Let’s explore together. We’ll even let Yankees fans come along; grandpas need all of the camaraderie we can get. 😉