By Lydia C. Lee
I have been inspired by Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom, who set herself the challenge in her 49th year, of doing 49 new things before she turns 50. (See http://www.49before50.com/). I think it’s a brilliant idea, so that instead of becoming set in her ways, she’s setting out to see what else in life she might like. I too, have decided to follow suit – but no set number for me, and I may as well start now, to get a bit of a head start.
Now as I have spent the last two weeks in an Olympic swirl, and encouraged by the fact that there was a 62 year old shooter amongst the athletes, I have decided to take up competitive shooting, and who knows, maybe in four years or so, I can add ‘being in the Olympic Opening Ceremony’ as one of my new experiences.
I hunted down a rifle range that has a ‘try shooting’ programme. I mentioned to my 12 year old my intentions and he asked if he could come too. I said ‘sure thing, will check the ages’. When I mentioned this in passing to my partner, he was VERY unimpressed. There is not a lot in the parenting that he volunteers input into, but let me tell you, this was it! Needless to say, this will be an adults only enterprise…
Now before you write me off as some sort of crazy gun-toting redneck or war mongering violophile, I’m not into hunting, or even practicing with the outline of a person. I’m talking the distance target like an archery target, which I might add, my partner had no issue with said son participating in when he was 9. I don’t even like ‘those’ video games and lecture my son regularly on the danger of marketing soft terms like ‘friendly fire’ that those games promote. I’m a pacifist, and would never dream of owning a gun, or having a gun in the house. I can however, see the skill in the sport. I can see it as an exercise in discipline, patience and accuracy.
So I am to set off alone on this new adventure (and I will see for myself if it was ill-thought out parenting). Except surprisingly, I won’t be by myself. I mentioned the rifle range to a number of friends and they thought it was a BRILLIANT idea. All female. One of these women is the most elegant, well spoken and artistic people that I know – Ironically, she thought taking the kids was also a great idea. It’s a reminder that we don’t all think the same, yet invariably, amongst our friends, are one or two who do, and that is probably what drew us together in the first place. It also highlights that I harbour ill informed and other judgemental attitudes towards this particular exercise too.
So now I just need to find a date – see if it’s fun, see if I like it and see if I can do it. Now that it’s down to brass tacks, I am remembering my hilarious attempt of skeet shooting twenty years ago, on a cruise. I missed every single skeet except the last, and I found the gun hurt my shoulder with the recoil. The rifle range I'm looking at is the old Olympic site, so that might have to be as close as I get, but I can still say I did shooting at the Olympics(ite).
I’m very keen to try it, but am also contemplating my next challenge, as forming the list may be as much fun as completing it…but for now:
Life changing new experiences (or activity I don’t need to ever do again – depending how it goes)*
Ray Bradbury said it best “Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” That is my new aim, and I think they’re very wise words to live by.
*As you can see, I need a far more alluring name for my list. Suggestions welcome!