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Monday, February 9, 2015

Age, Will and the Drive to Movement

We have a very strong contingent of folks at Flux who are around 60 years old, give or take a few years. I like to refer to them as the Flux Vanguard in that they are important culture makers at Flux. They inspire others and even more than that, this contingent of colourful folks shape the collective will of Flux. It would be disengenious to suggest that watching them in action is anything but inspiring. Through their singular and collective drive, they radically alter the collective narrative of aging and what that narrative looks and feels like. They prove that playtime is for all.  

Don on the vault

Too often, the image of the 60 plus crowd exercising are these static, boring exercises done with bands and exercise machines.  It is as though some higher power got to declare that once you hit 60 you are condemned to a life of 2 lbs dumbbells and jazzercise classes.

This 60 plus crowd gives shape to the story of aging through practice and repetition, not through declarations. They don't declare youth, they practice it. I welcome anyone to challenge my contention that there is a bodily pleasure when the will of the mind matches the practice of the body. Grit and determination abound when I watch Joan tackle the speed vault in parkour, or when Eugene and Theresa jump up onto the bars for some brachiation.

Growing up often means learning limitations. This is not so bad, as learning limitations, boundaries and perhaps curbing recklessness also means we get to live in a world with others. We learn social graces, we learn the word no and the trade off is (hopefully) that a rich and colourful social world is opened to us. The negative side to all this is that modern culture can destroy the will to move and to try new things. When Eugene got his chin up at the age of 68 he was essentially giving the cult of youth a good kick in the arse.

What I find particularly damaging about this pervasive cult of youth is that it dictates and then it stifles the desires of those bodies that are excluded from its ideal. And yet, there is a will to play, to conquer, and to experiment in the older folks at Flux that I have noticed is absent from many of their peers.

Play lights us up.
Play gets us off.
Play fuels desire and will.

- Darci 

Sam's push ups
Eugene working on brachiation
The vanguard at Flux House Blend
Jan working on his straddle
Joan bouldering
Joan's amazing bridge
Joan's handstand
Parkour vault
Theresa on the Parkour vault
Theresa on the bouldering wall
Theresa practicing hip raises

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic!! What amazing movers! I have adjusted my training recently because of several of the 'vanguard' in my gym. I had an epiphany of sorts, realizing that I was working out as if I was on some sort of timer and I better do all I could before it ran out and I was old and couldn't do anything anymore. Ironically, it was the very movements I was doing and the manner in which I was doing them that was going to make me unable to move later in life. I now focus on quality of movement, and I am looking forward to doing exactly what these folks are doing long into my golden years!