When should folks start ‘acting their age?’

in Contributors/Lee Scott/Voices by

By Lee Scott

Recently, I had the opportunity to go spiraling down a six-story waterslide called the Howlin’ Tornado screaming at the top of my lungs with a young 7-year-old who had persuaded me to join him. 

First, we had to climb six flights of stairs and when we arrived at the top we climbed onto a large inflatable raft.  Once we were settled and holding on, the attendant pushed us into a swirling tunnel flooding with water. 

What joy and laughter! We landed in a pool at the bottom where we high fived one another. 

“What a blast!” I yelled, to which my companion responded, “Let’s try another one of the slides!” and off we went with equal enthusiasm and joy.

Afterwards, my husband asked, “Aren’t you a little old for water slides? Shouldn’t you be acting your age?” 

The remark stunned me because it had never dawned on me not to go on the waterpark slides. 

“Act my age.”  

I had not heard that line in a long time; maybe when I was about 10 years old. 

“Oh,” I said, “is there a sign on the entrance to the waterslide that says you must be over 48 inches tall and less than 62 years old?”  

What “Aging Life Rule Book” is out with the title “Act your age?”

The incident reminded me of an old “Twilight Zone” episode from the early 1960s. (Yes, I am old enough that I remember watching.) 

It was about a group of residents in Sunnyvale Rest Home who snuck out at night and played kick the can, a game of their youth. The main character, Charles Whitley, believed that he has discovered the secret of youth: playing children’s games. When the group walked out through the front gate, they became children again, playing, running and laughing. Yet when they returned to the home, they were old again.

It is strange to be thinking of that show now that I am one of those seniors, still wanting to go out and play kick the can, shrieking and laughing like I was with my 7-year-old friend who said, “Come on. Let’s go.” 

Thank goodness it never occurred to my grandson Finn that someone my age should not go on the Howlin’ Tunnel.  

As for acting my age, I think I will continue to play “kick the can” until someday when it will be a bucket I kick instead of a can.