Wednesday, February 07, 2007

You're Never Too Old to ,,, by Karen Rose

Hi everybody! I’m excited to be here guest blogging with the Riders! First, I must happily report that the sun is now shining again in the Sunshine State (aka, Florida). Though the morning started out a chilly 50-ish, the temps will be in the mid-70’s today. I’m sure you’re all so happy for us down here! Actually, it’s more likely you’re muttering nasty and questionably unprintable insults under your breath. That’s okay. I deserve it! But I’m still warm without the benefit of thermal underwear, so there :).

So, on to my topic. I was going to write about my new romantic suspense, COUNT TO TEN that was just released on 2/1, but yesterday I saw something that made me change my mind. (Okay, one shameless self-promoting plug!!)

You’re never too old to … I’ve been giving the issue of age some serious thought recently. Mostly because my twelve-year-old daughter refuses to let me forget I’m forty-two and thinks it’s hilarious to remind me of my advancing years. She also thinks it’s funny to belch and show her chewed food at the table, so her sense of humor is sadly lacking, but then she is twelve. Shudder, shudder ...

When I look back, I know I wouldn’t be twelve again for all the money in the world. I don’t even think I’d be twenty-four again, or even thirty-six. The truth is, I like being forty-two. I like being able to look back and see that I’ve accomplished things I’m proud of – a family, a career. Several careers actually.

My husband and I recently celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. It occurred to me that I’ve been married to him for half my life. This is a beautiful thing, for which I’m daily thankful. But “half my life” has a weird ring, you know? Like, ack! Is my life half over? Am I old? Some days I say “yes!” But if I remember to take ibuprofen for all the creaks and aches, it ain’t too bad. You remember that old commercial … “Without chemistry, life itself would be impossible.” Well, they were right. Three cheers for the ibuprofen guys! And the hair color guys and the wrinkle minimizer guys… But I digress.

Back to getting old. Even though I’m creaky, I don’t think of myself as old. So, I decided to do something new – I took up something I’d always wanted to do – karate. I just earned my yellow belt a few weeks ago, and although my daily requirement for ibuprofen has dramatically risen, I’m awfully dang proud of myself! That picture is me with the leader of our school, Shihan Donna Judge, 8th Dan black belt. Now I have a new goal – to be a black belt before I’m fifty. Check with me in eight years and see how I’m doing!

Anybody out there decide to take up a hobby “half-way” through your life? And if you’re like, twenty, and took up gymnastics when you were like, ten, I don’t want to hear from you. My good spirits only extend so far. You have no wrinkles and you probably don’t even know that Prince was famous before the Superbowl half-time show on Sunday (how time-machine-weird was that anyway?). Oh, okay, I’ll hear from you youngsters, but I’ll probably make fun of you first.

On a closing note, I’ll pay homage to the upcoming Valentine’s Day with what I saw yesterday that made me change my mind about my blog topic. I was at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom this weekend with my husband and kids. If you're “just married” you can wear these mouse-ear hats – a black top hat for the gents and a white veil for the ladies.I saw this couple who had to have been eighty if they were a day – proudly wearing their hats! He was pushing her in a wheelchair and I got all choked-up and misty-eyed. Made me realize that you’re truly never too old… (I could make a cheap joke about chemistry and Viagra here, but I am far too sophisticated for that, LOL!)


Keri Ford said...


Well, half my life ago I took up driving. No, not a cross country truck driver hauling what-knot’s and what-have-you’s. A vehicle. I was 12 and getting an early start to learn how to drive. And good thing, I failed the written on the first time around! Not sure how that happened (other than I made a C (might have been a D) when I should have made a B).

Okay, now that I went there—and only because you tempted me, I’d like to say great for you to take up karate. For sometime now I wanted to take full-contact self-defense. I read about it in a romance novel and have been completely fascinated by the idea since. But, fascinated is all I’ve been. I’m not so sure I want to whip my body around like that. Just imaging trying to get out of bed the next morning makes me shudder. I’ve never even checked to see if anybody offers it in my town!

Getting older is not an age thing. It’s a state of mind thing. They say you’re only as old as you feel, so if you’re picking up karate at 42, then honey, you must be feeling younger than I am!

:) Keri

lois greiman said...

Hi Karen,

Great to have you here with us at Riders.

So...speaking of age and creakiness...I ran my first marathon a couple of years ago. And just to make myself feel older I ran it with my teen/early twenties sons. But we were all pretty much equally incapacitated. I remember getting to the edge of the curb and looking down like it was the Grand Canyon. We couldn't figure out how to make our legs stretch that far. Finally, we turned sideways and kind of shuffled down. But I'm glad I did it. There's something about pushing yourself to the limit...something painful.

Helen Brenna said...

Hi, Karen - so glad to have you visiting with us! And congrats on the yellow belt. We have to keep trying new things throughout life, otherwise we stagnate. I tried mountain biking around my 45 bday last summer, and what a trip.

Lois, I didn't know you'd ran a marathon. Way to go! I always said I was going to do that, but my bad, bad knees had other ideas.

Helen Brenna said...

Oh, and, Karen? Go ahead and tease us all you want about how warm and toasty it is in Florida. When you're here in MN in a few weeks for books signing, we'll have the last laugh!


Betina Krahn said...

Karen! Let me give you a big back-seat welcome hug. We fellow Floridians have to stick together during the good weather reports or we'll get put out of the car. :)

Interestingly, my late husband once gave me karate lessons for our anniversary. I was probably 35 or so, and reasonably fit. I could even do most of the splits they insisted we do during conditioning. After a few months, when they started us sparring with partners, I decided to stop the lessons. I just had major problems hitting somebody who'd done nothing bad to me. Crazy , I know. I had to decide whether I wanted to continue and develop that part of me or not. I chose not. And since then have wondered many times if I made the right decision. Still, I learned a great deal about my own aggressive urges and can still kick the stuffing out of hanging bag. And my "gi" gave me great credibility with my adolescent sons as they were growing up.
("I took Karate-- I can take you out!" My favorite threat, which I had to stop using when they topped six feet.)

I've occasionally considered sailing as an alternative. Hmmm. Maybe it's time to look into lessons.

:) Betina

Kelley St. John said...

Hey Karen --
Loved the story about the couple proudly wearing their mouse ears! How sweet! I'm heading to Disney in March to watch my oldest play ball at the Sportsplex, so I'll definitely keep an eye out for wedding ears (that seems funny to type, doesn't it?) around the Magic Kingdom.

Have a super day!

Karen Rose said...

Wow - I'm in truly good company! Marathon runners and mountain bikers - wow. My dad is a runner, and has been since I was ten or so. Now that I think about it, it was his "half-life" activity as he was in his mid-thirties. Now he's pushing 69 and still runs 5K and 10K races, beating some of the younger runners. His nemesis (this is a hoot) is a 73-year-old woman from their town. He MUST beat her, if no one else. How's that for Goal, Motivation, and Conflict?

--Karen Rose

Cindy Gerard said...

Hey Karen
Great to have you aboard for today's road trip. And I have lots of friends in Sunny Florida all of whom I've forgiven for complaining to me that it was "only 67 degrees today" when I'm shivering here in Iowa at 3 below. :o)
At any rate - i took up pottery a few years ago. LOVVVVVE it!! And you wouldn't think so but working with slabs of clay and a wheel actually does put a lot of stress on the upper body muscles. Sadly, I don't get a chance to do it as much as I used to but it's great fun and I have several pieces to display around the house:o)

But Karate - hum. That does sound like a fun and difficult challenge. More power to ya! In fact, WOMAN power to ya!!!

Karen Rose said...

Hey Cindy - pottery ... It raises images of Patrick Swayze (sp?) and clay. But it sounds like fun.

Betina - go for the sailing! I'd offer to join you, but me and floating things don't mix. Ew. Really. As for sparring - I've done a little of that, and I also worry about "hurting someone". It's foolish, because they can take care of themselves better than I can, which is the point, I guess, but the mommy in me hates to think about hurting them.

Oh, and Helen, I'm buying long underwear for my trek to the frozen tundra of MN. But feel free to laugh at me then. I'll feel like that Michelin man kid in a Christmas Story movie. I can't put my arms down!

Debra Dixon said...

Karen-- I took up quilting mid-life and thought, "This will be easy on my body."

Not so much. You cut fabric with dangerously round and viciously sharp rotary (razor) blades. You have to stand on your feet a lot. There is constant tramping back and forth to the ironing board, cutting table, design wall and hanging over the sewing machine. Then there is the hand quilting which is really bad for you if you don't observe the proper form. And the machine quilting on a domestic sewing machine can totally screw up your neck and shoulders.

After about two years of this I was falling apart, joining you in the over-the-counter club med and then one day I saw a show on quilting with an MD guest who'd written a book on how to prevent quilting injuries and prologue your ability to work well into your last years.

So I bought the book and boy-howdy! Does it make excellent sense! Solved most of my problems once I began following better guidelines for protecting my well-being.

Michele said...

I feel like such a slug! I'm sitting here trying to figure out what I've done lately that requires stretching a muscle beyond the relaxation point. I started walking two summers ago, but...there are dogs in the neighborhood. Big ones. Sure, they're on leashes, but leashes aren't fail-safe, you know, so my walking pathes are greatly limited.
I do have the Glider in the basement, that I'm trying to work beyond a twenty minute run on. Give me a few more months; I'll catch up to you ladies!
Great to have you here, Karen.

Vicki said...

Hey Karen, Congrats on the yellow belt :)

I took up painting. I always wanted to do it when I was a kid but thought that I wouldn't be able to since I cannot draw more than a stick figure. About six years ago I decided that I could do it if I really wanted to and while I'm not a Picasso I'm pretty good at what I like to do and it's very relaxing for me.

I loved the part about the older couple with the wedding ears on. That is so cool to see them still in love or is it they just got married and are on a wonderful honeymoon feeling like kids?

Can't wait till Saturday!!!

lois greiman said...

I'm thinking of hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon on my way to the RT convention in April. Okay, not actually onnnnn the way. Way out of the way, but son Travis has agreed to go with me and his goal is to see the seven wonders of the world so...has anyone hiked the Grand Canyon? How tough is it? Harder than making guilts? Cuz I tried that, Deb, and I can't do it.

Karen Rose said...

Debra - I'm not allowed to own sharp scissors so quilting is right out for me. My scissor ban is family-imposed as I once cut my oldest daughter's (not the one who shows her food)hair and two months later it was still so short that the shopping mall Santa thought she was a boy. She still claims trauma, even though she was six then and sixteen now! I agreed to the ban when I cut my sweet dog's hair too close and she needed two stitches. I was devastated when I saw what I'd done - she was so sweet she never growled when I clipped too close. So now I use those blunted scissors - like they give to preschoolers. So it sounds like quilting won't work for me - but the world is a safer place for it!

And Michele, as for dogs on leashes - they can be scary for sure. I got bitten a few years ago and dogs still make me nervous...

Fiona said...

Hi Karen!

We'll try to have it warmed up a bit before you get here for your book signings. It may even get above freezing by then.

Trying new things as an adult has been fun, and humbling, for me. I started violin when my youngest started 5 years ago. Now he's left me in the dust, and graciously helps me when I struggle with a piece he mastered two years ago--at 7! I'm still plugging away at it, and have even gotten up the nerve to play in a recital. I was sick for days before doing it, but I have a lot more respect for my children now.

Lois, hiking the Grand Canyon is not to be missed. My husband and I went for his 40th birthday. We went down the Colorado for a week, got out at Phantom Ranch, and hiked out the next morning. The hike was like doing stairmaster for hours, but with beautiful scenery and wildlife. It was the adventure of a lifetime. I can't wait until the kids are old enough to take so that we can do it again. Have fun.

Helen Brenna said...

For some reason, Fiona, hiking UP the Grand Canyon sounds a bit more strenous than hiking DOWN. LOL!!

Karen Rose said...

I think I'll leave the hiking to more rugged folks! I have this vision of myself falling and rolling down the gorge like Homer Simpson, Doh! Doh! Too scary for me!

If you please, a bit warmer than 3 below would be nice for my visit to MN, but if it's colder, I can rough it. Maybe not as well as you Minnesotans, but I'll survive. Still going to buy the long underwear, though.

Christie Ridgway said...

Hi, Karen! Thanks for joining us here.

Lois: We loved the Grand Canyon hike but what was supposed to take a whole day took us much less because the sons were speed demons. I was SO tired by the end, and actually felt a little ill when we made it back until I guzzled a Coke down. I hadn't had a non-diet soda in more than twenty years, I think, but it did the trick.

And food never tasted so good as it did after that hike!

principessa said...

Hi Karen,
You definitely are an inspiration to me. Your accomplishments and persistence are great. Congrats on the yellow belt. I workout which is a daily chore but it is a necessity at my age and stage. Love your wonderful novels.

Susan Kearney said...

I started writing at 40, started figure skating at 47 and am now working on my double loop and axel. Three years ago I started belly dancing. I'm 52 years young tody. My mom is 73 and plays doubles tennis. My dad is the same age and wind surfs. We're as young as we feel.
Susan Kearney
Usa Today Best Selling Author of ISLAND HEAT

Cindy Gerard said...

I did hike the Canyon. It's not for the faint of heart. We hiked Bright Angel trail to the bottom one day, stayed at Phantom Ranch for 2 nights then hiked back out. it was the most physically challenging thing I've ever done. But I loved every minute of it and would do it again in a heart beat - as a matter of fact - I'm going back in May but this time we will helicopter in and spend a few days white water rafting on the Colorado. I can't wait!
My advice to you, however, would be to hike the canyon AFTER RT, not before. I know you're in great shape but Kiabab trail is 7 miles down and Bright angel is 11 miles back up. it will introduce you to muscles you've never known existed - and they won't be happy with you.:o)

tarag said...

Wow, what an impressive bunch of women we have here. I'm proud to know you, ladies.

Karen Rose said...

Thanks for having me guest blog at the Riders! It was a lot of fun. Looking forward to meeting the Minnesota contingent in a few weeks. Until then, stay warm :)

Helen Brenna said...

Thanks for coming, Karen. It was a pleasure having you - come back for another "ride" some time!

ERiCA said...

Congratulations on earning your yellow belt! Half my life ago, I too took up karate, but I only stuck with it for six or eight months, and all I earned was... okay, nothing. But I can now do a much better duck-walk.

Half my life ago, I gave up writing when all my MSS burned in a house fire, but I have since re-found the joy and am writing again.

Just under half my life ago, I started traveling, which is something I always wanted to do. I don't get in a "big trip" as often as I'd like, but I relish every chance I get to see a little more of the world.

I agree with you about looking forward and not looking back. No way would I want to relive my teenage years again, or even my early twenties. Onward and upward! :-)

Helen Brenna said...

Erica, losing your mss in a fire would be so incredibly awful, I can't even go there.

Keep up the duck walk!