I’ve never spent a lot of time thinking about my age. The majority of my friends are a little bit older than I am and I don’t think of them as old so, how can I be old? My outlook on age is also influenced by my Mom, my Uncle, and my in-laws, who are 89, 91, 92, and 93. They are old!! I will admit that some of my body parts don’t work as well as they used to but, for the most part, I can still do whatever I want to do. I know that I am lucky in this.
On Thursday, my youngest daughter met me at Myrtle Beach State Park for some camping and kayaking. (I’d never been there before, so on my list it goes!) She’d found a company, Glass Bottom Kayak Tours, who would take us out for a sunset paddle and we were looking forward to being on the water. We checked in, signed a waiver, and were handed a life jacket. Our guide, Bernadette, told us that we were required to keep it on if we were under 13. She laughed when she said, “I’m not going to card you.” I laughed back as I said, “I’m fifty years older than that!” The words took me a bit by surprise. Fifty years! A half a century beyond the age cut off! I had to sit down, it shocked me that much! Where had all those years gone? Was I indeed getting old?
We climbed onto our kayaks and headed into the water to paddle between the Salt Marshes and the Heritage Shores Nature Preserve. Almost immediately, we saw oyster beds and fish jumping. We also saw blue heron and snowy egrets.
Riding along on the incoming tide made the going easy until we rounded a bend and had to start paddling against the tide. My sixty-three-year-old arms could feel the burn after 30 minutes but they did just fine! We made another turn and then were able to float into a beautiful sunset. As night descended, we made our way back to the boat launch site, where I was faced with a huge problem. How on earth was I going to get out of the kayak? It was pulled onto the ramp so that my legs were uphill from my bottom and we had quite an audience because a crowd had gathered to watch the sunset. I could see myself rolling out, head first into the water with my feet waving over my head! Bernadette to the rescue! She asked if I needed a hand. Her helper was standing beside her. I laughed and said “I’ll take all the hands I can get!” And just like that, they hauled my old bones out of that kayak in what may have been the most graceful exit I’d ever made from a boat. It was an exit that was definitely a few steps beyond my normal!