I’ve been wanting to begin a new series on this blog about Role Models for some time, and I’m so delighted that the first post in the series is written and photographed by my dear friend Lynne.
I’ve written a few posts on this topic in the past, about Heroic Aging, a piece on My Grandmother and a brief post about my Mom. As time passes, I find myself more drawn to this topic and am eager to begin exploring it in earnest. I plan to feature women who inspire me, who are living with a hero’s heart, who are showing me new ways to see the world, who show me by example how to embrace aging, who teach me lessons both large and small, and who help me live authentically, fully and as fearlessly as I can.
I met Lynne, shortly after she and her husband moved to Mill Valley from Minnesota in 1994. We are both Midwesterners, life-long horse lovers, dog lovers, are married to men with kids but have none of our own, and met through our dear friend Debbie. Lynne is a speaker, author, business founder and owner, writer, consultant and leader, she’s funny as hell, smart, charismatic, warm, insightful, grandmother to two, honest, supportive and a true friend.
She inspires me on a million levels, but most recently because she is 57 and opening her life up to the power of saying yes. It’s a great and timely lesson for me, and I hope for you too. Please enjoy Lynne’s post and let me know what you think by clicking the comments below:
I do not know why people turn to adventure when they reach a certain age. Perhaps it’s a realization that time is getting short. Perhaps it’s the desire to test the body in ways that prove that we are still capable. Perhaps it’s an internal shift when we become less focused on family and work and have the breathing space to seek a new kind of satisfaction. Maybe it’s as simple as having the time and money to do things that are just for us, and that make our hearts beat faster.
For me this has not been an organized journey. I do have a bucket list but I’m not organized about following it. What I have done is say “yes” to opportunities that arise. For so long I had to say “no” or “not now”.
With age also comes the knowledge that we don’t have to get good at everything, or even stick with it. If we end up loving mountain climbing that’s great; if not, we get to try something else. I now seem to the have the kind of permission I felt as a 7-year-old girl to try things, without caring if I look silly or if I even complete them. I’m giving myself more room to play.
Each of us should have at least one thing we do that makes others shake their heads. If others don’t quite get it, that’s a good sign. It means we are choosing something “we” want, without outside approval shoring up our choices.
So when my childhood riding friend Debbie asked me to go on a horse drive in the High Sierras I said “yes”. We joined the staff of the Rock Creek Pack Station and about twenty “guests” to take a herd of 80 horses and mules on a 100-mile trek from their winter pasture in the flats of the Owens Valley to the summer pasture near Upper Rock Creek at an elevation of 10,000 feet. Days ranged from 100-degree parched and dusty desert riding to climbs up sheer rock trails through Alpine woods into the Sierras. Along the way we forded rivers, rounded up the strays that tried to make a break for it, and stopped for packed lunches in breathtaking scenic meadows. The mules charmed us, always sticking close by at lunchtime to socialize and beg for bites of sandwiches. Watching the herd interact with each other was endlessly entertaining with all the spats, petty jealousies, love interests, and battles for dominance one might see in any large group traveling together.
The pace of a walking horse is just about right for taking in the details of nature. You see a mountain far off in the distance and hours or days later you find yourself walking up the side of it. Nights we camped under the stars in small pup-tents, usually with the herd milling nearby. The western saddle assigned to me was cement-hard and I was sore as could be the first couple days. But you get used to it. That and sleeping on a bed roll and peeing behind a tumbleweed.
My city friends shook their heads at the entire thing. That was just the response I wanted. ~~
By the way, Lynne recently said yes again, and is now deep in preparations to take her 80 year-old mother on a Safari in Africa next month.
What about you? Who are your role models? Have you said yes lately? Let me know what you think below!
Iris Apfel is an inspiration.