As we get older we leave things behind. Friends slowly fall out of our lives and we make new ones. Childish aspirations and dreams evolve and become grounded in reality by actual experience. The …
As we get older we leave things behind. Friends slowly fall out of our lives and we make new ones. Childish aspirations and dreams evolve and become grounded in reality by actual experience. The simple things, somehow, become complicated.
Yet, there are still times where the chance to regain a piece of our youthful excitement and carefree attitude occasionally comes along at an unexpected moment. When it does, don't hesitate. Take the world up on the chance.
Recently, some friends suggested we do something a little more unorthodox by starting the tradition of ‘quarterly’ birthday celebrations. The idea being once every few months we would gather at a nearby bowling alley and play a few games while celebrating all of the most recent birthdays and sharing a cake. It was delightful.
The cake was good. Doug crushed it at bowling – meaning he didn’t end up in a bad mood – and I didn’t do too bad myself. However, it was what came after that really put the pin in a good day.
After bowling, we decided to pop over and do something none of us had done in years. We signed up to play two eight minute rounds of laser tag.
I, and I’m pretty sure all five of the others with me, hadn’t played laser tag in years. Not surprising, I assume, especially considering the youngest of us just hit the age of 30. I know, I know, still young for many. Either way, laser tag isn’t a game that people play often at my age.
It was a blast.
As those who read my column probably know already, I am still recovering from breaking both of my legs just over a year ago. My speed and agility have taken quite the hit, but it didn’t stop this from being an incredibly fun time. We played through our first eight-minute game, all of us sweating and out of breath, and happily looked at the scoreboard with joy as we looked at what I assume were terrible scores when compared to athletic young children who can actually crouch behind cover without hearing their knees creak.
It was at this point reality sunk in. As we cheered ourselves on the gentleman running the game looked at us and said “ready for your second game?”
Several of us looked at each other in amazement as we realized that they hadn’t combined both games into one longer session and what had felt like an eternity was only half of our time. The game felt like it lasted almost forever. So, out of breath but filled with determination. We piled back into the play area and prepared for round two.
I won’t lie. I had done better in round one. By the end of the first eight minutes, especially after a few rounds of bowling, my legs had already been feeling it. For round two I found a good pocket of cover and let the others come to me while hoping I wouldn’t have to move as much and stress out my recovering knee more than I already had.
I was a sitting duck. It was quickly clear that what I thought was a defensible position just made me bait, but thanks to Doug’s finely honed reflexes our team ended up only slightly behind our opponents by the end.
After the second game one of our group suggested more bowling. This was of course responded to by several grunts of exhaustion from five other men nearing middle age and fully experiencing their own failing physiques. Laughing it off everyone sat down for a glass of water and, for some a beer or cocktail, before we called the “birthday party” a success and headed out to play a less active game back at home.
Despite being made forcibly aware of my own aging body and lack of physical prowess, I wouldn’t change the experience for anything. It was fun. We all came out of that room feeling younger and more free.
I can’t wait until our next quarterly birthday outing. I’m hoping we end up at the same place next time.