“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.” ~African Proverb
It’s simply previous ten within the morning on a Tuesday.
My moist boardshorts and blue tank high are drying at lightning velocity within the sweltering South Indian solar.
I’m feeling alive and exhilarated after my surf session within the surreal blue, bathtub-warm Arabian Sea.
Browsing waves constantly has been my aim for the previous two years, and I’m doing it. Which is fairly superior contemplating that I by no means thought I might surf once more.
The trauma and worry from a browsing accident ten years in the past, that almost knocked my tooth out, was nonetheless lodged in my physique for years, and my life’s focus had shifted from sports activities to yoga.
Once I landed in Kerala, India, my intention was to do an intensive interval of examine with my Ashtanga yoga trainer for ten weeks after which return to Rishikesh in Northern India, the place I had been basing myself.
An opportunity invitation introduced me to the coastal city I’ve been dwelling in for the previous two-plus years due to the pandemic.
And it simply so occurs there may be good surf right here.
My reentry into browsing has been sluggish and regular.
For my fiftieth birthday current I gave myself ten surf classes.
I made a decision I wanted to begin off as a newbie and took fundamental classes to ease myself again into issues and get comfy again on a surfboard.
An Indian man in his mid-thirties who was in my surf class requested, “How old are you?”
“Fifty,” I replied.
“I hope I am still surfing at your age,” he stated again.
I believe he perhaps meant this as a praise, however I took it self-consciously and puzzled why it mattered what my age was.
It’s now two years later.
I’ve slowly gone from a newbie to an intermediate surfer.
As I sipped a scorching chai out of a dixie cup on the facet of a busy fishing village highway, after my morning surf, an older Indian gentleman with gray hair requested me, “What is your age?”
“Fifty-two,” I replied.
His jaw dropped and he stated, “I thought you were seventy. You have really bad skin.”
Sure, this actually occurred.
And it has occurred greater than as soon as.
Each time it’s occurred, I’ve allowed it to knock the wind out of my sails.
Wow, I believe, how is it even potential that I look seventy years outdated after I really feel higher than after I was twenty-one?
In all honesty, good pores and skin genetics will not be in my favor. Coupled with my love of the solar and spending most of my life exterior, it has left me with the pores and skin of an alligator.
I lied about my age up till my mid-forties.
On my forty-sixth birthday, I advised a girl who requested about my age that I used to be forty. She laughed and requested if I used to be sixty.
However this chai-guy encounter sparked me to lie within the different course.
What if I begin telling these males I’m eighty-five? I believed to myself as I drove my Mahindra scooter away from the chai store. This concept made me smile, and I instantly felt extra empowered.
As an alternative of feeling ashamed of my pores and skin, I made a decision handy it proper again to them.
I now not care what they or you consider how I look, and I put zero vitality into my look.
It doesn’t matter to me as a result of inside I really feel wonderful.
I apply the entire of Ashtanga yoga’s difficult intermediate collection six days every week, which is one thing I by no means in my wildest goals thought could be potential in my forties, and I surf every single day.
The younger twenty-something Indian surf guys at the moment are giving me fist pumps and saying, “You are really surfing and catching some big waves now!”
They usually have stopped asking about my age.
I felt known as to share this story as a result of it made me surprise: Why are we not allowed to age?
Why is it a humiliation to have old-looking pores and skin?
Why can’t I’ve wrinkles and gray hair and personal it?
That is what the physique does.
So then why are we not meant to look our age? Or in my case even older!
I’ve determined to take a stand and switch the tides.
I’m claiming my age and my place within the surf line and voicing my reality.
We’re allowed to age.
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