I first saw Gloria and Theresa at the pool where I swim every week. They were quietly going about swimming 50 metre lengths and hard as I tried I just couldn’t keep up with them. After several weeks, we finally got chatting and I found out that they have been swimming together every week for the past 20 years and more. How remarkable! I just couldn’t resist asking them to be part of the Happiness of Pursuits Remarkable Files.
The first thing I asked Gloria and Theresa was their ages. I know, not exactly a question you should ask a woman, but I was so fascinated by how great they looked and how energized they were that I couldn’t help myself. Fortunately, Gloria and Theresa weren’t offended and happily revealed their ages. Theresa is 62 and Gloria is 68. Can you believe it? Amazing. Here’s what these fabulous ladies shared:
How long have you been swimming together:
We started playing squash together late in our squash life. We originally played for two different clubs. Due to injuries we had to find something else to do. Theresa first started swimming and then I joined her. I wasn’t really a great swimmer but we sort of taught ourselves and went from there.
Do you ever get up and feel like you don’t want to go swimming? How do you stay motivated?
Oh yes, there’s many a day where it’s hard to get up and go swimming, especially in Winter when it’s cold and wet and dark but our commitment to each other keeps us going. We each take turns to drive to swimming. So on a Monday I pick up Gloria and on Fridays Gloria picks me up. When holidays come along it all goes to pot but mostly we don’t miss our swims.
We also love the social chit-chat we have together.
What do you like about swimming?
Some days it feels like an effort but once you get in the water you move so easily and you just know you going to feel so much better afterwards. It uses a lot of physical energy but doesn’t feel exhausting. We have found that we can swim after any other activity, whether it’s yoga, walking or a really physical day.
It’s also therapeutic. While you swim you have time to yourself but you’re not alone. You can swim through any anger, frustration or stress you’re experiencing and come away feeling refreshed.
Once you in the water you can just keep going. There’s no pressure, just you and it doesn’t affect anyone else. It’s also great for aches and pains and arthritis.
How important do you think it is to have activities or interests you enjoy?
It’s really important to have something to do that’s just for you. I guess we’ve always been interested in fitness and social get-togethers. When we first starting playing squash it was great to have something social to do and we would take our kids along too and they’d love playing with all the other kids. I also enjoyed playing golf for 20 years, because it was social and kept me active.
We’ve made life long friendships, even although we don’t play squash anymore we still catch up with the girls we played with years ago. We enjoy getting together with our partners and always have a good laugh. Squash was great for the social and the team competitions. I play bridge with some friends. It’s also a great social get-together.
What advice would you give to others about being active?
It’s important to have something to do that’s outside of home and work. Stick up for yourself and take time for yourself. Give yourself permission to have some fun.
You owe it to your partner and family to be a person – not just a wife, husband or parent.
How do you get started finding something to do or join?
When I first came to WA I just rocked up with my kids in the pram to the local Squash club because I needed to do something and it started from there and I met Theresa.
I think that saying “Act, Commit, Belong” is spot on. You have to act by having a go, then commit to doing it and you will find yourself belonging to a group or making a friend. Get involved and have some fun.
Of course, we’ve been fearful of trying something new and not being accepted but generally we’ve found that there is always someone who is welcoming and encouraging.
I was asked by the other Mums in our play group to go along to a YMCA course to learn squash and thought I’d give that ago, so that’s how I started. I remember when I first went along, I kept thinking I’ll never be good enough, without giving myself a chance to discover whether I was or not. Finally, I realized that I was there to learn and so was everyone else! I wouldn’t be doing a course if I knew how to do it already.
There are lots of courses advertised in the local community paper, just choose something you think you may like and have a go.
Life is Short! As you get older you realize your own mortality. Don’t waste time, do fun things now. Time flies, make the most of the time you have.
Make the most of what you enjoy doing without hurting others. Let go and forgive, even if you don’t forget.