Up North and Off Grid: Over the Hill

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Over the Hill - Tai ChiI climbed to the top of another hill this year. I’ve completed six decades of life. Now I am 60. Yet when I look in the mirror, I don’t see an old woman looking back at me. I guess I’m not old yet, and I am starting to wonder if I ever will be old.

I still aspire to be as active my good friends who took an extended kayak trip on Lake Superior this summer. Then they hiked for several days along the north shore of Lake Huron – carrying all their gear on their backs! They are in their mid-70s.

I have other friends who traveled to the tar sands this summer to try to understand what that project is doing to our planet. One of them, Dave, is 80-something.

When I was young, I spent several years studying photography. I admired Imogene Cunningham, who was making wonderful photographs at the time. She was over 90. And Georgia O’Keefe was actively painting while I studied art in 1974. She lived to nearly 100.

I think the best part of getting older is getting wiser. I still have a long way to go, but I have learned some important things so far. Take good care of yourself. Especially if you want to live a long time, and live well.

I thought these women were old way back then, and I saw that it had little impact on their joie-de-vivre. I was inspired. I am still inspired. But if I am going to be as active and creative as my mentors, I’m going to have to start getting into shape. Each decade completed is like New Year’s to me. Time to make some resolutions.

A long walk every morning? Gentle swims each afternoon? Playing my flute… designing a personal style for my pottery… practising tai chi. Getting off the computer, for sure. Except for typing this note to you once a month, of course.

Tai chi is one of the best activities I found to send me toward the goal of living well. The Taoist Tai Chi Society teaches classes all year round, all around the world. Join at one location, and you can go to class anywhere in the world.

This form of tai chi is specifically aimed at cultivating health. Some of the people I have met at tai chi have been able to circumvent knee surgery, and others have regained mobility after arthritis has set in. My hope for tai chi is prevention. I want to be able to keep the agility I have, and make it even better.

You can get information about the organization, the locations, classes, etc., at www.taoist.org.

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