I don’t really like the term ‘age-appropriate’. I guess I can understand it being helpful in one sense, say, if there is a birthday coming up and are trying to find a toy, game or book for a child of a specific age (although if you have a budding Sheldon Cooper in the house then all bets are off!).
Other than that though, who decides what is age-appropriate? At what age do we begin to tell a misbehaving child to ‘grow up’? We want our teenagers to be like responsible adults but also constantly remind them how young they still are and they shouldn’t try to grow up too quickly—and—when our aged parents start behaving like kids again—we tell them to ‘act their age’. Are the rules on age-appropriate behavior written on a stone tablet somewhere? I’d be interested in reading the fine print.
Happily, there are many among us for whom age is no barrier at all to starting new projects or trying new experiences, whether it scares the heck out of their families and friends or not. Now I’m not saying you have to be like Yuichiro Miura (unless you really, really want to), who, at 80 years old reached the summit of Mount Everest in May (after having heart surgery in January no less!) Or Fred Mack, of New Jersey USA, who in 2011, celebrated his 100th birthday by setting the new world record for the oldest tandem skydive and freefalling 13,000 feet (yikes).
If, like me, you tend to break out into a cold sweat at the thought of having to stand on a chair, perhaps you could start with something more at sea level. You could take up sailing—the world’s oldest round-the-world sailor (77) just arrived home after an epic 1,080-day journey sailing single-handed (the wrong way) around the globe.
Too far afield? Dragon-boating on the Camden Haven River will at least allow you to come home to your own bed at the end of the day. You could join the local gym and take up bodybuilding (you may well laugh but I googled it and you would be surprised (possibly horrified) at how many people take it up in their later years!)
Too energetic? You could write a book. Norman McLean wrote A River Runs Through It at age 74. James Arruda Henry learned to read and write when he was in his mid-nineties and published his autobiography In a Fisherman’s Language at the age of 98.
The amateur theatre groups are always looking for new talent—go on, how many of you out there still have a ‘dress up’ box you never get to play in anymore?
Sing (loudly) while walking the dog, learn to tap-dance, join the local chapter of the Ulysses Motor Cycle Club (’Grow Old Disgracefully’)—the sky’s the limit (literally, in some cases.)
Test the bounds of age-appropriate behavior in whatever way works for you but, so I am not seen to be inciting public nuisance, please do check with the local authorities before attempting your first bungee jump off the local town bridge!
And if your choices tend to make other more, shall we say ‘less adventurous’ people around you raise their eyebrows skyward—doesn’t that just add just the tiniest little bit more fun to the endeavour . . .