It's been an interesting week. The good kind of interesting, nothing weird or creepy.
I think I'll start by talking about youth. There was a statistical study discussed at the Rat Race and one result stated the average age of a paraglider pilot is in their mid-forties. It makes total sense - looking around I realize that most of my flying friends are in their fifties. I never really thought much of it, you know, that whole "age doesn't matter when you have the same interests" thing. But after the Rat Race I looked around at my home site & wondered where everyone my age was.
The instructor I hang out with has gotten a pretty good influx of students this year & I've been making it a point to gravitate towards the other under-40's to re-invigorate myself. It's weird - it's like I've been living like a 50 year old & I'm nowhere near that. I go to bed early. I don't drink. I don't play loud music.
So that changed.
There was a paragliding party Saturday night & I decided to throw Little Miss Cautious to the wind (so to speak) and see if the old (young) me was still in there. Paying no attention to what anyone else thought I proceeded to have a few bevvies & dance like a monkey on speed. I had so much fun (some may say too much, judging by the random pictures popping up on the internet) and felt more like myself than I have in a long time. Not from the drinking, just from shaking off the boring old lady I'd somehow become.
Unfortunately hangovers tend to accompany bouts of boozin' so Sunday was a bit rough. But it didn't matter - I had so much fun hanging out with this abundance of 'young' pilots that seemed to be everywhere now. The weather was also OD'ing a bit so I just drove up & down the mountain with everyone & by the 3rd circuit I forced one of the guys to give me a tandem. He'd promised me a tandem weeks before, saying we could do acro - yay! I was excited until we were standing clipped in on launch with thunder rolling in the background. Noooo way would I have launched by myself. Eep!
We didn't catch a single thread of lift on the way out though, but had enough height for some big wingovers & a few spirals. I was having so much fun I screamed, which my pilot took for fear so he stopped. Damn. Oh well - it totally inspired me to stop talking about acro & just do it. It also magically cured my hangover. Hmmm, who knew adrenaline was the answer?
Anyway, on every flight I've had since then I've done some wingovers. They're not great yet or anything but definitely bigger than the lame little oscillations I've done before. Inspiration comes in many forms, but I've found now that I look back on my flying career that anytime I hang out with people my own age I get a jolt of energy that I don't get with my "age-less" friends. Lessons learned? Not to be apologetic of my youth when around older pilots and trying to blend in with them. Be ME, and me alone. So what if they don't want to compete or do acro or wear brightly coloured socks. I'm not growing old before my time any more.