Once you reach a certain age — oh...maybe sometime in your middle 40's — it occurs to you that you have a lot less life ahead of you than you have behind you. You look over the obituaries in the paper, and you notice the ages of the dearly departed — and sometimes that number isn't so far from your own age. Sometimes it is even a smaller number.
And when you start noticing the less-than-vague hints of new aches and pains throughout the day, it becomes pretty clear that the quality of the life ahead is not going to be the same quality of the life in the rear view mirror. Which is annoying.
That's when you start thinking about all those leftover things in life you've always wanted to do, but couldn't...because you were too busy raising a family and taking care of parents with Alzheimer's and going to work and all the other in-between stuff that happens after childhood and before geriatric-hood.
You realize you've got stuff to do and a little time to do it, so you get busy. You start writing your bucket list.
There are all kinds of ideas that roll around in the bottom of my bucket. Things like — "be in a play at community theater" or "learn American Sign Language" or "touch a snake and not have a heart attack." After all, a bucket list item doesn't have to be about visiting someplace new or seeing something you've never seen before. It can be about overcoming a fear or achieving something or even enjoying some small pleasure in life. Some of it I've already accomplished — but I often add something new. Last week I did that.
One word: ZUMBA.
Latin-inspired exercise. A blend of dance and aerobics.
I met the Elwood Zumba ladies at the Glass Festival. Their booth was right next to our booth (Aqua Systems). For three days I admired the Zumba-ers, who were actual adult women — not all twentysomethings with wombs intact and breasts still at attention and pointing in the right direction. They were real and some had even been morbidly obese in the past. They played music. They demonstrated their routines in front of festival goers without even an ounce of self-consciousness. Their enthusiasm was infectious and I knew that Zumba (or at least an attempt at Zumba) had to go on my list.
So I showed up at the Elwood elementary school on Wednesday at 6:30. I brought water and a hand towel. There were quite a few participants in the gym, all ages. I am not a good judge of age, but it is safe to guess I was one of the more...mature.
The music started, loud and fast.
At 50 you can't do anything loud and fast, at least not at the same time, unless you apply copious amounts of alcohol, and that's only effective in improving the "loud" part. For the first few minutes I felt like I was in a race — running backwards. But I was determined. And when there was a clapping part...well let me tell you, I can clap my hands with the best of 'em.
Now about twerking. Or whatever the recent name is for moving the hips and pelvis north and south and east and west. It's nothing new (sorry Miley), and has always been around in dance and of course in sex. Zumba incorporates some of those movements in the fitness routine.
A modified version is probably good for the lower back. My lower back fused into a cement column in 1990 to protest the birth of my second 9-pound son (see where unchaperoned twerking can get you?) My ability to twerk is gone, as is the ability to chew my own toenails. But my desire to twerk and chew my own toenails is also gone, so they aren't even on my bucket list. But I had to do something to fill the time, so I modified and twerked my shoulders. It looked great with the clapping. I was practically cool.
The music (which I didn't recognize or understand) continued for 65 minutes. I am proud to say I kept moving, usually even in the right direction. I do wish I would've brought a bath towel instead of a hand towel.
Conclusion? Zumba is a hoot. Another thing marked off my bucket list.
Theresa Timmons' column appears every first and third Sunday. She is an Elwood resident and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.