Don’t rush a senior citizen: you might learn something

by Ali Davidson on August 17, 2010

Yesterday my husband and I decided to go golfing.  It was the perfect day to be outside and we were looking forward to spending some one on one time together doing something relaxing and fun.  When we got to the course we were told we were pairing up with another twosome as the course was full and running behind.  Our companions ended up being two gentlemen, one around 65 and the other 92.  That’s right 92 and proud of it!

My husband and I were amazed at the agility, strength and vitality in this senior.  Bill was a pretty good golfer too.  What was so interesting in this day together was not so much what Bill could do, but our own realization of our agenda driven day.  Let me explain.  Kelly and I were out to relax, we had a cart to drive the 18 hole course, and we had no place to be until late in the evening.  So we really did have all the time in the world.  But when Bill slowly edged his way to the first tee, we both inwardly groaned.  Why?  Because Bill had no cart!!!!  He was going to walk all 18 holes, pulling his clubs behind him.  And that meant our pace was going to be even more relaxed than we planned.

I thought Bill should have gotten a cart.  How was he ever going to keep up?  As Kelly and I zipped by from one hole to the next in our electric cart, we passed Bill and began to feel guilty.  Here we were at 53 taking the quick way.  Was it because we physically couldn’t walk the course? Well, if a 92 year old could we sure could, right?  Of course we could walk it but that would take too long.  There was only so much time for fun in our fast paced world, afterall.  This is all too often the experience seniors have of us “kids.”  We are all in a hurry no matter what we are doing.  We can only let ourselves do nothing for too long without feeling guilty or unproductive.  And our seniors suffer our impatience as we wait for them to move, to talk, to decide.  We most often attribute their pace to the onslaught of “old” age.  But what if “old” age was actually a gift we get to experience when finally time is ours to spend as we wish.  That we could choose to be even slower, walk instead of drive, there must be something happening in each step.  Bill says it gives him time to think; to review his last golf swing, imagine his next, remember golfing with his wife, and of course keep his body in shape!

Bill held up remarkably.  He wasn’t even winded.  After awhile as we got to know this gentle man who’s loved and lost, raised children, worked hard, and now spent his days golfing with the “young” guys, watching football, and still driving, we realized his age was all in our heads.  And soon we found that we were not in such a big hurry.  We relaxed into the sunshine and enjoyed the languid building of a new relationship.  Bill taught us that there was plenty of time; that life’s easy moments should be cherished; that there is great wisdom gained in a brief encounter; and that the slowing down of aging wasn’t a detriment but rather an opportunity to take the time needed to really enjoy life, review the past to find our life’s meaning and explore new relationships.

I think next time, we’ll walk the course.  Who knows what we may learn in the quiet, unrushed moments between the fairways.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Chelsea August 25, 2010 at 10:39 am

I love this and found it particularly timely. Slowing down is a gift we receive from our elders if we are willing to accept it,

Michelle Barry Franco August 25, 2010 at 11:10 am

What a glorious story full of lessons. Makes me want to walk a golf course slowly… with a new friend. (And I don’t even golf :-)

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