fun first

Looking to Our Parents for Inspiration

Ashley with our mom Teri and dad Gary, who demonstrate a hunger to sweat, laugh, cry, celebrate, seek new experiences alone and together that keep them young at heart.

Ashley with our mom Teri and dad Gary, who demonstrate a hunger to sweat, laugh, cry, celebrate, seek new experiences alone and together that keep them young at heart.

By Ashley Rigby

Age fascinates me and the meaning one derives from their age and the age of others, fascinates me even more. I am in awe by the ownership and pride my kids express over their age, I’m bummed when people say they are “too old” to do something, and really love when I beat younger ladies in road races. Whenever I meet someone or discover an article on someone who owns their age, yet defies if at the same time, I am hungry to know more. How? Why? What else? What next? May I join your club?

Luckily, I don’t have to look too far for inspiration. Friends and acquaintances, who have met my parents, often comment on how young they are. They had my sister and me in their mid-twenties, which was the national average for the early eighties, albeit steadily trending toward early and mid thirties. So yes, my parents were and are statistically-speaking young parents and grandparents. But typically the remarks on how young they are come after meeting them, but before their age is known.

My Mom and Dad are athletes. They downhill ski, cross-country ski, slalom water ski, run competitively, mountain bike, golf, road bike, motorcycle and hike. Honestly, if someone has the gear and extends an invitation, they are game. But consider yourself warned, they will probably kick your ass at your own sport. Also, consider yourself warned again, as my Dad cheats when he fears a loss, which I chalk up to his competitive charm.

They will laugh, dance, shut down the party and walk away holding sweaty hands in one and a drink in the other. They celebrate everything and nothing.

My Mom and Dad are physically hard workers. My Dad is a contractor and my Mom is a middle school reading specialist. On weekends, weeknights and school breaks they work together to fix up their home, rental properties, flip houses, and a small lake cottage. If my Mom isn’t mowing a lawn or painting a trim, she’s about to. If my Dad isn’t at Home Depot, replacing kitchen cabinets, or installing a window, he will be tomorrow.

My Mom and Dad are partiers. They are the ultimate wedding guests. They will befriend random party guests, they will take full advantage of your open bar and four-piece band. They will laugh, dance, shut down the party and walk away holding sweaty hands in one and a drink in the other. They celebrate everything and nothing. Here are a few reasons they might have a party; it’s a Monday night, impending snow day announcement, they have leftover booze and food from a previous party, someone died, a baby was born, someone might be born someday.

I know people who are my age who don’t do half the shit that my parents do. They don’t do it now, and they probably won’t do it when they are 60 either. Age is not the factor. It’s the hunger to sweat, laugh, cry, celebrate, seek new experiences alone and together.

As I write this I realize perhaps I am already in the club. There are no dues, permission slips, or meetings. Don’t worry about your age. If your parents are like mine, follow their lead. If not, follow the example set by your children…just go find a party, a playmate, a play date and say yes to adventure.