Today marks the beginning of the World Youth Day celebrations in Spain but tomorrow might provide a better vision of our own future.
The old adage ‘the youth is our future,” still rings true on a global scale but perhaps local residents will see their future in the hundreds of seniors descending upon our region for the B.C. Seniors Games, which officially begin Wednesday night with the opening ceremonies at Haley Park.
Granted the future of the world is in the hands of today’s youth but our own health and well-being can easily be gauged by the seniors who will flash their athletic talents, passion and joie-de-vivre over the next few days.
Watching octogenarians playing slopitch or elite track stars still running hard decades past their glory days reminds us that the clock continues to tick whether we’re sitting still or in motion.
How we manage that time is entirely up to us.
I’m reminded of a column I once wrote on Chuck Woolls, the venerable Montrose swimmer who, when most people slow down, jumped in the pool at age 67 and began a 15-year commitment to the B.C. Seniors Games winning over 100 gold medals along the way.
It wasn’t about the wins that made Woolls inspiring.
It was the fact that he took on a new challenge in life at an age when many people think the challenges are over.
Yet it was that same challenge that re-energized him and added years of enjoyment to an already event-filled life.
And perhaps therein lies our fountain of youth.
Challenges, big or small, not only get our juices flowing, they keep us sharp, awake and alive.
It doesn’t have to be an athletic challenge to tackle.
That to-do-list around everyone’s house is a never-ending challenge, yet, approached in the same manner these senior athletes take their events, can be a sense of pride, fun and energy.
We all have different goals but we all share the challenge of reaching them on our own terms.
Keeping that challenge in sight, be it the perfect golf swing or the perfect backyard setting, is something that will stay with us long after we’re finished punching a clock on a daily basis.
So this week might serve as a blueprint of how the growing number of baby boomers can enjoy their retirement years.
When I see the smiling faces and the spirit of competition and the passion of commitment in the faces of the people in town this week, I quietly wish I will be that enthusiastic when I reach the upper echelon of the age scale, which, admittedly, isn’t that far off.
I see many of the same athletes that will be competing this week on a daily basis around town. They’re usually the ones with the biggest smiles, the healthiest appetites and the passion for life.
So while many people try the latest cosmetics or surgery to stay young looking, and many others attempt to find any way possible to hold on to their fading youth, perhaps the people that we are hosting this week will provide a better example of how to live life.
Don’t sit back and let life pass you by. Get up and enjoy it. Dive into it and cherish each day like it’s the highlight it should be.
My advice to local residents over the coming few days is take a moment and people watch.
Feel the energy and vibrancy from our visitors and understand these aren’t elite athletes but simply people who love doing what they do. And when you can do it in a beautiful setting surrounded by like-minded people, then all the better.
As baseball great Yogi Berra once said, “You can observe a lot from watching.”
There might not be world records or future Olympians on display in Trail but the prospect of seeing how we can shape our own future in the best possible manner might be the greatest result of all this week.