A couple of weeks ago, I was trying out one of my friend’s new skateboards. I was having a lovely time, cruising around and having fun, when this elderly gentleman asked me, “Aren’t you too old for that?!” This comment was then followed by the background muttering and jeers (that I could still hear clearly), coming from a bunch of younger males.
Now, this experience could have impacted upon my confidence and self-esteem, but thankfully I was in a very good mood and just let it go. Consequently, my response was simple and to the point. I responded with, “You’re never too old!” I then offered him the skateboard to have a go. He politely declined and went on his way while I continued with my skateboarding fun. Upon reflection of this experience, I do respect that this gentleman had the courage to make his statement, and I also acknowledge that he is from an older generation. However, part of me couldn’t help but think, “Ah the nerve!”
I am not claiming that I can skateboard well. I was simply cruising around the carpark, minding my own business, and (most importantly) having fun with my friends and the kids, when my experience was interrupted by his comment. This got me thinking… when are we too old [and] when do we accept that we’re too old? Is there a specific age that is a ‘cut off point’ to have fun? Did he make this comment because I’m a mum, or more specifically, because I’m female? I’ve seen guys older than me cruising around on skateboards… do they get asked questions like this? Furthermore, why we need to subtly insult someone in public who is not harming anyone or making any trouble? Imagine if he had said something similar to a male around my age, whether it was during a skateboarding/surfing session, or just in general!
Trust me, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard a comment like this. My fellow surfing mums have often been asked if they are too old to start surfing. SO, here is my question. Why do we (and other members of society), place so many restrictions on ourselves as women? I certainly wish I had committed more time to surfing before I had children, when I definitely had more spare time than I do now. It’s almost as if once we have children (and/or get married), that we have to adopt another role and lose our individuality to an extent.
I love surfing my local break because we have beautiful women, many who are a little older than me, and they can rip big time!! They make surfing look so easy and, most importantly, they are extremely humble and inviting to new enthusiasts. Some of them surf with their children and have for years. Each time I see them out there I know that I’m not too old and that NONE OF US ARE!
I found a really interesting article recently which lifted my spirits. One of the biggest growths in women’s surfing is in the 50yr+ category. Women’s surfing in general has grown significantly. This article is worth a read and is quite uplifting and inspiring. (http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/6202-surfs-up-for-young-women-fifty-plus-201504222329).
These sorts of statistics are really exciting, I think they speak wonders for the previous ambassadors for women’s surfing and suggest a general (positive) shift in female sport. Perhaps one day, the advertising industry may even market women for their pure sporting ability rather than what they look like in a bikini. My foremost thought is that each time I see my children cheer me on as I paddle into the shore (often looking like a drowned rat), I know that I am trying my best to be a good role model and that one day we’ll paddle out there together as a family.
TOO OLD, NEVER!!!