Banish dull moments, but not reflective ones – by R. Gary Raham
Seventy-year-old male introverts confined to book- encrusted basements rarely succeed in quests for health and happiness. As a writer, I also spend lots of time wallowing in the mangrove swamp of my own mind, hoping to be ambushed by clever ideas. But I’ve learned to take off my hip boots now and then to explore some of the many real-world options available to seniors in Northern Colorado. Regular bouts of pseudo extroversion lead to serious dividends: exposure to new ideas, new human contacts, and a chance to enjoy Colorado’s great outdoors, to name just three. And that last option often leads to reflective moments that make my personal swamp more sublime.
If you are male and fifty plus, you may enjoy playing tennis to start your day. Youngsters (50-59), geezers (60-69), and super geezers (70 and above) meet at either Rolland Moore Park or CSU tennis courts (depending on the season) every day of the year. (Contact Richard Aust at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.)
My wife joins other women and men who like to run, jump, and throw things—like javelins and shot puts. They meet on a semi-regular basis to practice, often at CSU’s outdoor track on College, and participate in Senior Olympics and Masters Track and Field. They build strong friendships along with rigid muscles. (See www.coloradomasterstrackandfield.club) Colorado State, through their Adult Fitness program, also provides access to their track and weight room facilities for a modest monthly fee (http://www.hes.chhs.colostate.edu/outreach/adultfitness/)
If you possess itchy teacher genes, you may enjoy volunteering for the City of Fort Collins Master Naturalist Program. After a six-week training program, you will qualify to lead nature programs to entertain and educate adults and children in the town’s natural areas. (https://naturetracker.fcgov.com/) Larimer County also has a similar program (http://www.larimer.org/naturalresources/volunteer/).
Rock, mineral, and gem enthusiasts can join the Fort Collins Rockhounds’ Club (www.fortcollinsrockhounds.org). During the summer they take many field trips, usually in Colorado and Wyoming, and they hold a gem and mineral show every March. The Western Interior Paleontological Society (www.westernpaleo.org) based in Denver provides those interested in fossils many opportunities for programs and field trips.
If you’re the artsy type, look into volunteer opportunities with the Fort Collins Museum of Art (http://www.ftcma.org/) or the Loveland Museum (http://www.lovelandmuseumgallery.org/volunteer/). Writers might want to consider The Northern Colorado Writers (NCW) and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). See www.rmcscbwi.org and www.northerncoloradowriters.com. Published authors may join the Colorado Authors league (www.coloradoauthors.org/)
So, after a day hunting fossil ammonites or discussing Paleo-Indian discoveries at the Lindenmeier site north of Wellington, I return to my basement and wade back into my mangrove swamp. But now I see the glitter of ideas on every rain-soaked bush with new clarity. The air smells fresher. Even the mosquitoes of daily life buzz with a certain perverse charm. I love to see potentially dull moments burnished to shiny, if sometimes imperfect, gems of reflection.