“It sucks to get old.” This is a phrase I have been seeing quite often lately on social media. So, I have given it some thought. Old. If old means living, aged and infirm, in an elders’ home when the world has moved on without you and taken your sense of self-worth and value with it; when your friends have departed, your family too busy for you and you are living a life of increasingly slender and diminishing quality then yes, then getting old sucks. No one want this version of “old”.
But most of the people who have expressed this “getting old sucks” are between the age of 35 and 45. So what are they thinking? Would they rather have died young? The untimely death of a young person is one of life’s great tragedies. All the promise, the potential lost and unrealized forever. No one wants to avoid getting old by dying young.
Are the people in this age group, where they are approaching “middle” age, starting to realize they are no longer sheltered in the impermeable immortality of youth? Maybe even they will age and , worse still, eventually die? Is this what starts the “sucks to get old” mentality where each injury or physical setback is seen as an inevitable decline into the gloom of Old Age? I suspect that this has something to do with it. But I cannot be certain.
Most of the people who I have seen expressing this are equestrians. They are leading physical lives and are most likely tuned in to every ache and pain and are concerned that something may impinge on their ability to ride horses. I get that. But….
Get a grip fellow equestrians! We are in the one sport that people can continue to enjoy and also to compete well into our advancing years. Hiroshi Hoketsu, Japanese dressage rider, represented his country in London 2012 Olympics at the age of 71. Ian Millar, Captain Canada, is planning on being on the Canadian show jumping team for Tokyo 2020 and he just turned 70 in 2017 and is competing at the top international level.
Janne Rumbough, the dressage rider I wrote about earlier this year, is 74 and still riding and competing at the most advanced level.
I am 68 ,with both hips replaced, and I am still riding and competing.
The horse is the equalizer. That is how in equestrian sport men and women can compete against each other. The horse is the equalizer. And men and women can continue to compete into their 70s and to ride for even longer. The horse is the equalizer.
So, for all of you concerned that “getting old sucks” I beg to differ. Yes, you will have to work harder to stay fit. Yes, you will have to employ the services of a good physiotherapist or osteopath, or chiropractor, or massage therapist to keep in top fit condition. But you will still be able to ride.
We are lucky to be able to “get old”. So let’s make the best of it and RIDE ON!