Practicing What I Preach

When I get restless, I tend to start poking around looking for something new to do.

It’s been both a curse and a blessing because sometimes I get entangled in things that I probably should have left alone.  However, since I like to look for the bright side of things, it’s more often than not at least an interesting experience.

This past winter I became rather listless and felt like I needed to crank things up a notch or two.  Inspired by Bridget’s success at finding new friends for social outings, I too went looking for like-minded individuals in my area.

I found an Over 55 seniors’ group which was active in outdoor activities.  Perfect!

While Helen was still wintering in Portugal, I went hiking with this group one cold day in February.  It was at a conservation area I had never been to and our group consisted of only 4 people – a perfect scenario.

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Hiking at Cold Creek Conservation Area with Seniors For Nature Outdoor Club

Except it wasn’t.

I didn’t feel that sense of *bonding* I was looking for, and so I didn’t sign up for any more outings.  A few weeks ago however, I acknowledged that I hadn’t given this group a fair chance, and decided at the last minute to attend their upcoming monthly meeting.

I trudged out, somewhat reluctantly, in the pouring rain to an unfamiliar part of the city. A big part of my reluctance came from an expectation that this would be a small cliquish-kind of group who all knew each other, and I would feel like an outsider.

It wasn’t … and I didn’t.

Seating had been set up for at least a 100 people in the community centre where we met. Every seat was taken, and people were crowded along the sides and back of the room.

This should have been a nightmare scenario for me, but it turned out to be the opposite.

We each had name tags which included the year we had joined the group.  These people – mostly retired, some not – are ACTIVE, and this was a lively bunch.  Newbies like me were drawn into conversations and introduced to others who shared our interests.

It was one of the most welcoming environments I’ve ever experienced as a newcomer.

I learned this group had started about 20 years ago, was incorporated as a non-profit with a formal Constitution and an operating Board of Directors.  It turns out I was sitting with the President of this seniors club and she was a spitfire.  At 80 years old, she had gone downhill skiing this past winter for the first time.

It was at this point that I knew I had found ‘my people‘.

She encouraged me to join their executive team in one of their vacant positions … and so in a moment of blind faith, I jumped in with both feet.  I am now the new Secretary of the Seniors For Nature Outdoor Club.  The name is a bit of a mouthful, but what’s in a name anyway?

I’m not sure exactly what I’ve gotten myself into this time, but I do expect, if nothing else, it will be interesting.

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Cycling last week with the seniors club

 

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in Active Lifestyle, Attitude, Friends, Outdoor Stuff, Random Stuff, Things I Like and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

114 Responses to Practicing What I Preach

  1. That sounds so fun! I’m new to blogs…reading them and setting up my own. I found yours as an assignment! My blog is about hiking after age 50. Why I do it with the physical limitations I have, though they’re not horrible just painful. It’s great mental therapy, great exercise. There are so many beautiful places in our state parks and conservation areas right in our own back yards…I just want to spread the word, get people out there moving and enjoying nature while they can! Good luck with your new position!

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      Kim, I’ve read the bio on your blog and I’m blown away by your strength, determination, and positive spirit. You’ve endured more than is reasonable for any person.

      Nature is such an amazing emotional healer. Within a few minutes of hitting the trail – any trail – I can feel the stress start to slide away.
      Kudos to you for your passion to pursue this activity in spite of your chronic pain. Your attitude is inspirational.

      Like

  2. The Widow Badass says:

    Fantastic! I am very happy for you Joanne. It gives me hope I can find “my people” too one day.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ~M says:

    Sounds like an exciting new opportunity! 😉

    Like

  4. Active seniors who live the outdoors- sounds the perfect fit for you. Great that you agreed to join the executive too – that’s the way to get to know everyone…was surprised to hear you describe yourself as shy since that doesn’t come through in your posts.

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      It’s one of those things I really work at, Carol. It takes a huge amount of energy even before I get out the door

      I’ve never been a joiner, but I agree that in this case the benefits should greatly exceed the ‘cost’.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. JT Twissel says:

    My father was skiing up until he died (79). He died snorkeling. Glad you found your peeps!

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      He died snorkeling? I hope this was a *happy* story because he was doing something he loved?

      … but I agree with the intent of your comment. We need to stay active – whatever that means in our individual lives 🙂

      Like

  6. RuthsArc says:

    You certainly jumped in to the deep end, Joanne. Good luck with this new venture and the new friends you will meet. Enjoy!

    Like

  7. Good on you Joanne, it’s not easy joining a new group. So glad it turned out to be full of wonderfully inclusive people!

    Like

  8. Hazel H says:

    Really inspiring story Joanne. Courage and stepping out our comfort zone can really lead to great things. Well done. Sounds like a fantastic community of people. Goodness knows where it will lead to…….next skydivving recruit?

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      hehehehe! Actually I am already a bit of a daredevil. I went skydiving when I was much younger. It’s kind of outside my snack bracket now that I’m retired.

      However, for my birthday last month, my (adult) sons planned a family day at an indoor skydiving place. We’re going next weekend and I’m very excited.

      I love it when we have fun family days like this 🙂

      Like

  9. nikisthoughts says:

    Good luck on your new adventure! Sounds like it’ll be interesting!

    Like

  10. It sounds great Joanne and I know you will do a wonderful job! Makes me a bit jealous… we live rural and are very isolated and the group you found, we would have to travel hours to a big city to find something similar. Which is why we are thinking of moving… 🙂 Congratulations and enjoy!

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      It’s funny that someone like me in the city longs to be back in a small town, while you’re contemplating the reverse.
      The services in a city are incomparable, but its sheer size can make it isolating. Hence why I needed to take this step. I need to make sure I don’t get isolated as I get older.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Ally Bean says:

    Sounds like this will be fun for you. I’ve never read or heard of anything similar to it around here, but I’d be enthused if I found a group like this one. Well, a group that didn’t do the bike thing, of course– but walking I’d be cool with. Enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      I found lots of walking groups. However, this one appealed most to me because of all the other activities they do, and the fact that they do virtually all of their activities during the week rather than the weekend.

      Like

      • Ally Bean says:

        Oh, that kind of group sounds perfect. I want to do things during the week, but the groups aren’t there. And on the weekend I’m too busy doing what we’ve always done, so joining weekend groups makes no sense for me. Maybe as more Boomers and X-ers retire, things will change around here. In the meantime, enjoy your fun.

        Like

  12. I’m so impressed you went back AND to a meeting! You’re much braver than I. And then you join the committee! Good golly. I hope it all bears wonderful fruit in the form of new friends and fun experiences!

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      This was NOT like me at all. I’m not a joiner and definitely not where there are a lot of people involved.
      But I have a good feeling about this, and as I always say … life is best lived on the edge 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Jeff Bell says:

    80 years old and skiing for the first time? That is awesome. So cool that you found this group even if they put you to work. Outdoorsy people are usually a great group of people but meeting 100 strangers at once is hard for me too.

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      I agree that part was uncomfortable, but they did such a good job of trying to make it otherwise.
      I am so inspired by that 80 year old. That’s how I want to be when I grow up 😉

      Like

  14. mickscogs says:

    Good on you Joanne. After the beach is finished I’ll be joining a group of musos I’ve never played with. This will be a challenge for me. I hope they are as inclusive as your group.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Fantastic!!! Your reluctance, followed by enthusiasm and push to go into “the unknown”, was well rewarded by finding such a like minded group and you will no doubt be great in that role Joanne! Good for you!! Love the title of this post by the way…..

    Wow, skiing at 80 is damn impressive and even more so, for the first time. Now that woman is a great role model.

    Cheers to you and “here’s to adventure!” – me toasting you 🙂

    Peta

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      Practicing what we preach isn’t always as easy as we think it should be :/
      This 80 year is a great role model and has the attitude I hope to demonstrate when (if) I’m her age!!

      Like

  16. Mrs. P says:

    Wow…cool news. I always love checking out what your up to because sometimes you do some pretty wild things. You are braver than I to jump in with a title and responsibilities on the second date. I’ll have fun watching your progress. I too believe in pushing through comfort zones so good on you!

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      This was NOT my usual behaviour. I’m pretty reserved and generally shy away from even small groups.
      I had to remind myself of why I had gone looking for an outdoor social group to begin with. The bottom line is that nothing ventured, nothing gained.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. de Wets Wild says:

    You’ll be wonderful in your new office, Joanne!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      Thank you! I figure I’ll be doing a lot of learning on the job, but they’ve assured me that it won’t be a problem. I think they were just so thrilled that someone agreed to the role that they were willing to overlook my lack of experience 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  18. What a great reminder not to judge a person, a group, or just about anything else on just one try. I’m so glad you decided to give this organization a second look. I would love to find something similar around here… you’ve inspired me to search it out.

    Like

  19. Donna says:

    Your post is a great reminder to give activities–and people–a second chance! So glad that you had a great experience with this. Congratulations on your new position!

    Like

  20. loisajay says:

    So glad you went back for a second try, Joanne. And now on the Executive Committee! Gotta give that 80-year old so much credit–good gosh…..that must have been such a rush for her to go skiing for the first time–at her age!

    Like

  21. I am not a great joiner of groups but about seven years ago I went to aqua jogging at our local university pool held at 7.15 am every weekday morning. At first I only went a couple of mornings a week and not in the winter. It is an outdoor pool heated to 28 degrees Celsius. My husband reluctantly went a few times and now we both go five days a week, winter and summer except when we are away. The group consists of about 20 regulars and we have meals out, trips to various events, and through this group have joined Friends of the Botanic Gardens and the University Social Group. We can do as little or as much as we like but it has opened up a new world of laughter and conversation over coffee post aqua jogging every morning.

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      I think you summed it up perfectly with the comment ‘we can do as little or as much as we like’. That’s a good analogy for life, and the truth is, the more we get involved and engaged, the richer the texture of our lives.

      Like

  22. Dan Antion says:

    Sounds like you found a great group. Good idea to give them a second chance.

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      It’s still early days, but I have a good feeling about this. I’m a believer that, to some extent, we create our experiences by our attitude. I intend to make this a very good one 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dan Antion says:

        Good luck. I’ve had some very good luck joining groups, although it’s always ended up being more work than I bargained for.

        Like

        • Joanne Sisco says:

          I’ve never been much of a joiner. I’m much more comfortable in one-on-one activities, so this is a huge leap for me, especially when I saw how many people showed up for a monthly meeting!
          In the spirit of continually challenging myself to step outside my comfort zone, this is going to be a good one 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

  23. joey says:

    I’m so glad you went back. Living well — this is living well 🙂

    Like

  24. bikerchick57 says:

    LOVE this Joanne. Love, love, love. What a great group to feel a part of…right up your alley. I think you got yourself involved in something good, so enjoy every moment of this new experience.

    Like

  25. reocochran says:

    I went to a book club and gave it three books and tries. I didn’t like this new effort last year and am sure I understand how you feel about each group has a certain aura or way about them. Your cycling group seems the most wonderful and fun group ever (for YOU!!) hugs xo

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      The personalities of the group have to work and it’s tough to stick it out when it doesn’t.
      I’m cautiously optimistic about this group. I think we are off to a good start 🙂

      Like

  26. Lynn says:

    Joanne, that’s wonderful! It sounds like a great way to meet some new people with like minded interests.

    Like

  27. Good for you. Of course, I live by the tenet, first voiced by that renown philosopher Groucho Mark, that “I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.”

    Like

  28. Debbie H says:

    Good on you for giving the group another go and for taking on a role. It sounds like a win win. I look forward to hearing more of your exploits with the group.

    Like

  29. It sounds like you made a good move that will keep you enjoying the outdoors with a group of like minded folks. 🙂

    Like

  30. C.E.Robinson says:

    Wonderful that you found an adventurous group, Joanne. Sound like a good fit! Stay active, socialize, and keep your brain working is the key to healthy aging! I’d learn something new like bridge next! Have a peaceful week! 🎶 Christine

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      Earlier this year I was asked by an acquaintance to join her Bridge Club, but I declined. Perhaps you’re right and one day I should make the effort to learn! … if only to give my poor body a break 😉

      Hope you have a lovely week too, Christine 🙂

      Like

  31. Sharukh Bamboat says:

    For me life is so different. I am so packed with work that sometimes I can’t tell the difference between Sunday and Monday. I write for clients, my own blogs, and marketing content for blogs plus going around to places to take pictures, groceries, personal commitments and much more. Phew! The list never ends.

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      The busy list is very different when you’re young. I remember feeling like I didn’t have time to change my mind 🙂

      Just wait until you’re retired some day. You’ll be even busier!! I promise 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sharukh Bamboat says:

        I don’t think I’ll ever retire. For me, I believe things might slow down because I don’t have kids and since I am the youngest most of my relatives will be gone. I and Sarah would be trembling and walking the local streets. Ha ha.

        Liked by 1 person

  32. How exciting! I hope you have a lot of fun outdoor adventures with your new group!

    Like

  33. Sounds grand! I remember when I was not long out of college and went on a white water rafting trip with my parents and brother, that there were some older people there having a blast. I hope to never get too old to try new things and to find a group of people with whom you are simpatico is such a blessing.

    janet

    Like

  34. Su Leslie says:

    Woo Hoo. Not withstanding that I can’t, just can’t, think of you as a “senior”, it’s fantastic that you’ve found a tribe AND got involved in the organisation. I’ve never managed to run fast enough to avoid the organisational side of any group I’ve been involved with, and while I grumble, I know stuff needs to be done and I quite like doing it!

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      … and that’s the point, Su. I rather like it too. Being on the inside and understanding the hows and whys makes things so much more interesting … not to mention the fact that you get to know so many more people.
      So there’s work to be done … there’s usually a box-car full of fun along the way, too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  35. nrhatch says:

    How Wonderful! Glad you found a bunch of like minded ACTIVE folks for hiking, biking, and (who knows) downhill skiing!

    Like

  36. Hard to imagine you as a senior citizen but, other than that, sounds all good!

    Like

  37. I’ve heard similar stories as your first walking-group outing. Not welcoming, or they would walk so quickly or so intensely (no talking! this is walking!) that you might as well have been on the trail solo.
    I’m delighted for you that your second visit paid off. As you no doubt know, groups like this have a difficult time keeping the executive positions filled. There’s always a need for someone to do the heavy lifting. I was secretary for the WI – and it was I job I really enjoyed. I learned a lot, I was engaged with many people, and it filled a need for purpose. Win-win-win. That said, I quipped just the other day to a WI gal – “I miss the WI, too – the good work that they do, the spirit that is generated, the sense of community. The headaches? Not so much.”

    Best of luck, Joanne!

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      It wasn’t that the first group was unwelcoming. I just didn’t feel a connection.
      Ironically, 2 of the 3 people from that hike were on last week’s bike ride … and it was a great day. It just goes to show that sometimes the stars don’t align.

      It is sad that people just don’t want to get involved. I agree with you … it’s a win-win-win. I’m sure there will be headaches along the way … gulp, an incorporated entity has legal requirements to fulfill … but I have a good feeling about this.

      Liked by 1 person

  38. That’s great! It is hard to find like minded folks. We’ve been looking for campers, to no avail… yet!

    Like

  39. I’m so glad you gave it another shot, Joanne. The old days of seniors sitting around knitting and playing cards are history if we just give it a go. Enjoy your adventuresome group. 🙂

    Like

  40. Barbed Words says:

    Well done for your big leap! Sounds like a great group and I’m sure we’ll hear more about it 🙂

    Like

  41. Joe says:

    As Oliver Hardy said often to Stan Laurel “here’s another fine mess you have gotten us into” 😀 I have to tell you I am the exact opposite of you Joanne. I never get restless and I think long and hard before I get into anything. The only thing I ever started without thinking it through was my website “Monochromia”. It is way more work than I initially anticipated but it is also very rewarding every time someone sends me an email asking “how do I contribute to this site ?”. I feel if I would have spent too much time thinking about how much work it was going to be I would have never started it and missed out on the satisfaction it is giving me. Sorry for going off on a tangent about the site but now it’s time for a “shameless plug” for anyone who reads this and wants to visit http://groupexpo.worpress.com

    I really wish I had your energy Joanne 😀 You wear me out and all I do is read your posts, LOL.

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      As usual, Joe, you’ve made me laugh 😀

      Your experience with Monochromia is exactly the point! What a wonderful experience you would have missed out on if you hadn’t just jumped in with 2 feet.

      … on the other hand, you’d never know what you missed … but that’s besides the point!! 😉

      I may rue the day I agreed to jump on board as an executive member, but I have a feeling it’s going to be a jolly good ride 🙂

      Like

  42. I am so glad you decided to give it another shot. I am sure you will be having many adventures and I look forward to reading about them.

    Like

  43. I wish you could see my smile right now. I am so glad you found like-minded people and I cannot wait to hear more. I am happy that you reached out and thrilled that you gave the group another chance. Good things will come from this, I can feel it.

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      When I heard this 80-year-old woman talking enthusiastically about downhill skiing this past winter, I was practically vibrating with excitement! She’s exactly the kind of person I want to be at 80!

      I know I’m as guilty as most about being quick to dismiss something as not-for-me. I too am glad I decided to give it a fair chance in spite of my initial first impressions. I have a good feeling about this and I’m SOOO grateful for your inspiration!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am really happy for you. The right group of people can talk you into all kind of stuff. My group dragged me to a concert and I loved it, even though I don’t like crowds. Next week we have a spring picnic at the Hoover dam and a hiking tour the week after that. It’s fun!

        Like

  44. I hope the group works out for you. I’ve enjoyed the Photography Meet-Up groups I’ve joined, and I’m looking forward to the time I can rejoin a hiking group that hikes weekday mornings which doesn’t work for me right now.

    Like

  45. Sue Slaght says:

    Good for you Joanne. If one is going to jump in then why not with grand enthusiasm? Looking forward to hearing of the adventures.

    Like

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