I discovered that in a seemingly mild activity……
I turned 64 in January this year and the song “When I am sixty-four” by the Beatles rang in my mind. I looked around and find that a handful of friends have already retired or preparing to do so.
Used to be, 64 means ‘retirement’. It means ‘slow down. It means ‘Just relax’. Not in today’s world. 64 is the time of enlightenment, wisdom, and golden opportunity.
Do I want to retire? Not really as I do love my job. But there are so many interesting activities to explore and I would need a good balance to have my cake and eat it too. As I continue in my quest to hand the baton to my younger colleagues to free up some time for myself, I found that it was quite liberating. Indeed, life is so interesting in today’s world and I have been caught up in my routine for a long time.
My first new activity was to join a line-dancing community group near my home in October 2021. Near my home, in a courtyard, I have noticed that the line dancing mates are always gathered around 7 pm on most weekday evenings. There was a maximum of 25 people allowed due to the Covid-19 restrictions, and everyone is socially distanced and masked.
As the music was played, the dance mates, mostly in the 60s range but some in their late 30s, would move as a unit, generally smooth and soothing in their ways. I thought it would be too slow for me as I am rather impatient.
One evening, I found a slot available and joined in. They were welcoming. The instructor would always rehearse the steps sometimes in phases depending on which ‘wall’ we face. The music played and the participants were good! They moved in step and rhythm with the songs, some of which seemed tricky to me.
I conceded that I felt like a spoiled sport, unable to remember the instructions and often turned to the wrong directions and was totally out of step, even tripping all over myself. Fortunately, I have a thick hide and the propensity to forgive myself plus the determination to pursue anything that I want to learn.
I learned that success in line-dancing lies in knowing the basic steps and having frequent practices, especially at home. It is first essential to know that the dance steps are all unique and there are so many to master! I learned about grapevine, coaster step, step-touch, twinkle step, Mambo step, etc.
It was fascinating. My 64-year-old legs would have to wake up and respond accordingly if I want to fall in nicely with the group and not become a pariah of a seasoned group of dancers. As I practiced and memorized these steps, some basic dances became easier during the sessions. I felt a sense of accomplishment whenever I could dance with the group.
It helped a lot that we were a cohesive, friendly, and happy bunch! People never fail to teach patiently when they are asked. Because of that, I did not want to waste their time nor disappoint them for future gatherings so I would do my homework too.
It’s been four months since I joined the line dancing group and some members have been enjoying this activity for as long as 8 years! It is no wonder that they are so elegant, natural, and fluid in their movements.
I have at least 6 songs under my belt now that I could dance to without disrupting the group’s harmony. It would require more sessions and practice for me to integrate and move as one unit with them.
Along with this seemingly smooth and harmonious activity, I have reaped a lot of benefits. Physically, I feel more upbeat and agile, especially when there are people in their 70s who could move so gracefully on the dance court. They inspire me to stay active and refined.
I have made many nice friends, many of them who wisely ended their illustrious careers in their 60s to explore and enjoy life to the maximum in many ways.
Line dancing is a great way to boost my brain cells activity, improving my memory as well as my reflexes. Remembering all the necessary steps and moving in tandem with the body is such an exhilarating feeling. With the music rolling and the evening breeze blowing, Oh, what a great sensation! What a great life!
Yes, I am still challenging myself in other interesting activities.