The view from the highest point during what’ll I translate as the ‘‘tree top parkour’’ – a combination of zip lines and suspended obstacles courses – at the Station Duschesnay, a tourist nature hub about 40 minutes outside of Quebec City, had me and my two stepdaughters clamouring away about our dreams of one day owning a chalet on the shores of the lake we now overlooked from the sky.
In the high-pitched, excited tone of girls (both young and old) the three of us quipped back and forth while waiting for the family in front of us to finish the next route.
‘‘You guys don’t have an adult with you?’’ Asked the father of the family, who must have been listening to our conversation.
There was a brief pause before I finally reacted:
I made sure my voice went up at the end about three octaves more than necessary, which must have made my claim to be an authority figure very convincing.
I could have said that I don’t know any of the songs the girls play on Spotify, or that suddenly all the clothes in my favourite stores are made for teenie-boppers, or that, despite myself, I’ve started using the word “teenie-bopper” – or still, that most nights I’m in bed by 9:30 p.m.
I could have said that I’m now at the tender age, as someone once described it, of having pimples and wrinkles at the same time. This is the cusp of 30.
Or 40, or 50, but who’s counting?
I realize that my voice is not much different than the two girls I live with, which I guess for some, makes me seem younger – ie. not authoritarian, like my group is missing a chaperone. This is culturally ingrained – being taken seriously has always been a struggle, but only more recently does it seem less important than staying young in spirit.
This summer I went to see Cyndi Lauper at the annual outdoor music festival in Quebec City. I belted out every hit while the 65-year old gave a rock star performance, running out into the crowd, gyrating on stage, singing upside down over top a piece of sound equipment…
Old is the new young.
In fact, this summer alone, besides zip lining, I went to the Calypso water park near Ottawa, La Ronde amusement park in Montreal; I took a SUP course and bought a paddle board for my own pool where I’ve been practising headstands and other balance postures.
I went to an acro-yoga festival and took a handstand workshop.
As a teenager I was angry that my parents never enrolled me in gymnastics as a kid. I’m over it. Now I’m just looking forward to practising my moves.
Back home in Saskatchewan on holidays in June I watched my dad win three rounds in one of his drag races after spending the better part of a decade restoring an old race car. You’re never too old to live out childhood dreams is such a cliche, but now it totally rings true.