How the lure of cheap line dancing helped unleash my inner senior

On EDGE: Opinion

Lynda Comerford

I had always looked forward to being “a mature older woman.” There was just some sort of confident, diva peacefulness associated with that phrase; a confidence that the foibles of one’s youth are well behind you.

Recently I realized I’d have to find a new anticipation, because I think my ship has finally sailed. There was no real defining moment. Being in my fifties, I just decided it seemed like a reasonable time to finally declare myself “a mature older woman.”

Not long after, my new status was verified when I got home from shopping at a local drugstore. I looked at my sales receipt and saw I had been given the seniors discount! No questions asked. The under-20 cashier had simply looked at me – my grey hair (I hope), the telltale giveaway. I brushed the incident off, happy to save the $5.50. And, I reminded myself, as time rolls on there will be more of these little perks – free dental work and City parking, to name a few.

Now, we all know that 50 is the new 40. Any women’s magazine will tell you that. Active aging is the new trend. Whether it’s running your first marathon, taking yoga classes, transcending through tai chi, kite skiing or climbing a mountain, the over-50 set is out there proving they are the new 40, maybe even a 30 here and there.

Making an effort to follow the trend, I look around for a suitable life-transforming activity I can ease into. I take note of a local group offering line dancing every Friday night at the Baker Centre. It’s only $2 (only $2!) and is always packed. You don’t need to know anything about line dancing, but the one prerequisite is you have to join the Yellowknife Seniors’ Society. Well, I might have grey hair, but surely I’m too young to join a seniors’ society!

Apparently not. Our gung-ho Yellowknife Seniors’ Society starts its membership at 50, and associate members start at age 19! That’s one heck of a grooming program. I paid my $10, got my official laminated card and have managed to muster up only one night of line dancing since.

That’s okay though, because now I have a myriad of other “Active Living Programs” to choose from. My new membership will get me into yoga, curling, Scottish Country dancing, tai chi, and an assortment of bowling options: carpet, lawn, or five-pin alley. And if mental push-ups are what you’re after, there’s bridge, an investment club, art group, and a book club.

The Yellowknife Seniors’ Society offers stimulation for the mind, body and soul. And don’t forget your stomach. One of the Society’s trademark events is “Lunch With the Bunch.” Every Friday, a local group, business or collection of benevolent individuals cater a lunch, which is always a sell-out at $5 per person. I have personally experienced some of the best chili ever there.

This is all great, and I make a mental note that we are lucky to have such an active group of seniors in Yellowknife. And then somewhere between that mental note and my next dish of chili, I got asked if I’d consider running as a board member for the society. Are you kidding me? Surely I must be too young to be on a seniors’ board! I thought about it long and hard, and decided, you know what – these are a fun bunch of people doing worthwhile things. If I can make a positive contribution to this group, I’m happy to do it.

So here I am – the newly designated “Chair of the Social Committee.” And with confident, diva peacefulness, I declare – age is a state of mind, camaraderie is a state of community and Clairol is a girl’s best friend – or not.

Embrace your inner senior and rock on!

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