I have two or three more tournaments before I turn sixty. I am already qualified to fence national events at Vet 60. However, I do not think I will be attending any this season.
I spent part of the last eight years just trying to see myself as a fencer. I thought I had to earn the title of "fencer". I didn't think anyone else had to earn it. I just felt like I did. As time passed, I came to see myself as a fencer. In the next decade, I will most likely see myself as "having been a fencer". I may repeat the process and strive to see myself as a coach. Time will tell.
I use to think people my age just let themselves go. I did not really think that,but I must have thought something like it. For a long time, I did not see getting older as a big deal. I gained some weight. My metabolism was broken. I could walk by cheese cake and gain three pounds. I got gray hair and hair started growing where it had no business growing.
It seems that things are changing rapidly as I head towards 60. Leg flexibility is almost gone. My coach often talks about my balance. I wonder if part of that is age related. I have a bad right knee. I have leg problems. They always hurt to some extent. My eye sight has diminished a bit.
Of all these things, my legs are what I would wish to have magically made better. I so miss running. Nothing in my life ever relaxed me like running trails through the woods.
There are things I wonder about. I use to be intimidating to some degree. By that I mean my appearance was intimidating. That was part of who I was. Now I wonder if when a person sees me, is all they see a heavy guy with long gray hair. I remember about ten years ago, a beautiful women friend of mine, told a friend of hers that I was harmless. What a hell of a thing to say to a man. I hoped I would never live long enough to be thought of as harmless.. But maybe I have.
I have friends my age that got old fast. Their physical impairments are greater than mine. But also, they just seemed to give up and embrace their age. Not only that, but I think that some of them have a small level of resentment that I fence and often compete against much younger people. They have never said as much. Yet, some how I sense it. If I am right, I don't get that. I am always proud of my age group when they best a young one. GO TEAM!
I may be making it sound to much like doom and gloom in regards to turning sixty. I have some things going for me. I am fairly strong. Upper body is good and even though the lower body has some problems, it is strong as well. I have a full head of hair. I even kind of like the gray color. My hand speed and reaction time is still pretty good. Over all, everything works just fine.
I would have loved to have fenced when I was 18. I hate I missed what that was like. I would have been such a better fencer.
I wrote all this trying to describe what it is like to become a Vet 60 fencer. The fact is that you cannot really do that. You cannot make anyone else feel what it is like and it will be different for every person. (At least to some degree.)
I will close this post on a positive note. I fence better than I did a year ago. I am improving. In my mind, improving and having fun are the main reasons to fence.....................and I am doing both.