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Let’s face it. I’m not a spring chicken.
I have three adult children, two of whom have solid careers while the other is finishing his senior year of college.
I don’t have grandchildren, but I’m definitely old enough to have a passel. I could even have a couple who could be as old as 12. But remember, I don’t.
I’m not fit and thin and my eyebrows spotted gray two years before I found my first one in my head this past January.
Indeed, I am old.
So when Tom and I took our annual fall vacation this year, I should have remembered all that as I was being harnessed in a rig to complete three zip lines over a beautiful Mexican jungle.
But I didn’t.
It was actually my idea to do a zip line. As a fan of The Amazing Race, I’d seen it done for years and thought every time how much fun it must be.
When we sat down with our tour director upon our arrival in Cancun, the first words out of my mouth were, “He wants to snorkel. I want to zip line.”
On Oct. 29, both Tom and I got our wishes.
I was totally undaunted that the other four people in our group were in their 20s. Only Tom and I qualify for discount coffee at fast food places.
Of course, the four youngsters were amazed that I was there and even more astounded that as we snorkeled and swam with sea turtles, not only did I keep up, I was actually the leader on several occasions and somehow managed to find the turtles before the guide did.
Their amazement was compounded later that morning as we went to an underground river to swim a channel in the cavern and admire the beauty of stalactites and stalagmites everywhere.
The couple from Chile brought up the rear as once again, this old gal forged ahead not wanting to miss a single thing in this natural beauty.
But when I was the first one selected by the guide to harness up and get ready to zip, a whole new level of admiration crossed the youngsters’ faces.
Without hesitation, I climbed the tower, got hooked up and before you can say, “Adios, amigo” I was flying through the air grinning like a possum and thinking, “This is the life.”
Exhilarating doesn’t even begin to describe the feeling as you are soaring above the trees.
And so I did it again. And again. All total, I zipped more than 1,900 feet. Granted, the Mexican jungle is not the Swiss Alps but it’s a start. And if I had the opportunity to do a higher mountain range, I would.
“Well, we can cross that off our bucket list,” Tom said on the ride back.
Indeed, I thought, as I realized that I didn’t know that I had a bucket list.
As the week went on, in between beach and pool time, over and over I was a participant in life–not concerned about my age–only enjoying every moment of every day.
I danced a zillion dances with a charming pirate named Caesar on a replica of a Spanish galleon. I rode on a Jet Ski behind Pablo over the crystal clear Caribbean and on the last day, I got harnessed again and with my husband, we parasailed for half an hour marveling at the beauty of God’s creation from several hundred feet in the air.
Check. Check. Check. The bucket list I didn’t have kept getting things ticked off it.
Ron, a 23-year-old from Brooklyn I met in our hotel, gave me hug after hug as he told me how wonderful I was for trying new adventures.
“My mom would never do any of that,” he said, right before he ordered me a Kamikaze to celebrate my spirit.
Admittedly, I’m pretty amazed at what this senior adult did too.
Age. It’s just a number.
I may have crow’s feet and a double chin that betray my real age, but for eight days last week, I was half that old.
I think that’s something I could get used to.
Carolyn Ten Broeck is editor of the Williston Pioneer.