I have embraced the “Just Say YES!” attitude that David Harry Stewart has mentioned several times in his AGEIST podcasts and it has produced some very interesting results.
Being recently single, I decided this was a great time to adopt the attitude and mantra of saying YES! to whatever opportunity arises, to be proactive and create my own opportunities. I believe this is particularly valuable for me because I am prone to living in predictable and well defined patterns. Many of these patterns produce great outcomes so I have to be conscious of the consequences. For example, I am a very regular exerciser. This year, I have competed in three triathlons and several running races, and performed very well. However, the price I pay for this can be a lot of isolation, especially if I am riding or running alone.
I don’t want to be alone, so I have been pursuing other activities to further diversify my exercise portfolio, especially those involving other people. I have been looking for a new gym and I have gone to a couple of different CrossFit gyms looking for the right exercise- and people-cultures. In an effort to do some very different things and get out of my comfort zone, I have taken “hot” Pilates and introduction-to-boxing classes. I am also taking an inside rock-climbing class. This process is actually a lot like dating: looking to decide who I want to have a long-term relationship with!
An activity I have begun to fall in love with is, you will probably know what is coming…pickleball. YES! Pickleball. Pickleball is the boom sport that everyone is talking about right now. I was invited by some folks at my gym to play on a private court several months ago. They mentioned it to me a few times and finally I said YES! I played racquet sports in my youth so moving from a beginner to an intermediate pickleball player was pretty easy for me. After playing with this group for a few months, I realized that there was a much larger opportunity to learn to play better and meet many more people.
I like pickleball for three reasons. There is a physical component to it. You have to move, be agile, and react quickly. There is a skill, strategy, and competitive component as well. Pickleball is not tennis and the techniques necessary to win against good players have to be learned and practiced. One of the appeals of pickleball and why it has grown so quickly is that neither the physical nor the skill components are particularly demanding to be able to play and have fun. The third aspect of pickleball that I love is the social element. There are courts, clubs, and tournaments all around me here in Scottsdale, AZ, and almost everywhere around the country now. In 2024, I would like to ramp up my pickleball skills, play in tournaments, and prepare to become a pickleball instructor.
In addition to online health and fitness coaching, I also have a traditional technology job. I have been working from home since the onset of COVID. This arrangement has the obvious set of advantages and disadvantages. There is an office I can go into that is a little less than a 30-minute drive for me, but I have only gone into the office a handful of times over the last three years. Starting January 1, 2024, my company is implementing a hybrid work policy where we are going to be required to work from the office three days per week. I had not been looking forward to this, but have recently changed my attitude and said YES! I am looking forward to this, as this will have positive social benefits for me.
Even with food I have become less rigid. I am not talking about drinking Mountain Dew or eating Snickers bars! I had become quite keto in my approach to diet and I have relaxed this to re-introduce fruits, such as apples, and some other carbs to create a more balanced diet.
Not all of my “Just say YES!” experiences were home runs. I decided to go to a couple of singles’ MeetUp groups that were primarily social in nature. These events were meeting and hanging out at a bar. I did two of these events and I did not like that format very much. As you can probably tell, I like doing things and being around people who are active and fit. So I decided that I would focus on groups that had some sort of activity associated with them like hiking or rock climbing.
My father died of complications from diabetes and too much alcohol. Fortunately, I have been able to steer away from alcohol being a problem in my life. Recently, I had not had any alcohol for over four years. I was not drinking any alcohol partly to support a former girlfriend who was not drinking and partly because I didn’t like the headaches I seemed to get from just a small dose of alcohol. However, I realized that a 100% sober approach does limit social opportunities.
A couple of weeks ago, I was checking out at the grocery store and a woman in her mid twenties in a cute Halloween costume was next to me and looked over at me and said, “We should do shots in the parking lot.” I turn to the guy to my right and he says, “She’s not talking to me!” I thought about this for just a moment and thought of David Stewart and just said YES! Actually, I did not need to think of David because there was no good reason to turn that offer down. So I bought some single-serve alcohol drinks (they were right next to the checkout line, but I had never seen them) and went out to the parking lot and we did shots. She and her friends invited me to meet them much later and that did not happen but I did go out and meet some people closer to my age.
I signed up for a cruise in a few weeks as a solo traveler. I am not sure where YES! is going to take me on the cruise. I do believe that being less rigid and more flexible will make me a more interesting guy, a more attractive partner, and happier all the way around. Just say YES!