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The Saturday Journal: I used to Love to.....I used to Love....

It gets a little comical—when you injure yourself and people—good hearted, kind human beings ask you over and over—what happened—what did you do? And you, with a smile tell them the story of your cut or broken bones or injuries or bruises resulting from oftentimes, being stubborn or just, plain clumsy. 

Recently I twisted my ankle playing pickleball and this lady asked me what happened. I told her I was only wearing a brace for a day or two and playing that very afternoon. She shook her head and laughed and said, You’re too old for that.  Now, I didn't take offense to it. That’s her personality, and I love her. She’s a good friend. 

But I’ve been reflecting on this for a few weeks—asking myself these questions. And wondering, too, if you have ever said to yourself–

I used to love to…or I used to love… 

Like, for example—You see a child or an adult riding their bike and you think to yourself or even say it outloud—I used to love to ride a bike. I haven’t rode one in years.  

Or a song comes on the radio or on the loudspeaker at the grocery store or at a sporting event and you say, I love this song. I used to listen to this band or artist all the time.  

What made us stop doing the things we love? Listening to the music we once listened to?  Have we allowed the opinions of others or the noise and busyness of this life stop us from doing the things we love? 

It was hot–sweltering hot and the sounds of this little yellow ball with precisely forty holes hitting the paddles echoed loud–making its own kind of music chiming in with the softness of the tennis balls bouncing off the players’ racquets on the adjoining courts. 

And here we were on this summer afternoon–a bunch of ”senior citizens” seen through the world's eyes–playing this game of pickleball–sweating–laughing–having fun–making good shots and sometimes, missing the ball altogether, and that happens to everyone every now and then.

There were five of us on this day.  Four on the court and we would rotate in and out.  I don’t know how this conversation even started, but one of the ladies said something about being the oldest. Then one by one each lady told their age–and it wasn’t a whisper of shame but a shout  ‘I’m 66. I’m 65. I’m 65 too, and another said she would be 65 in a few months.’ And another, the youngest of the bunch, she’s 62. 

The song these ladies sang–one chorus at a time–a solo of sorts–like children in a classroom taking turns–eagerly raising their hands after a question has been asked.  ‘My age is this–my age is this.’ 

It was magical. 

George Benard Shaw wrote, “We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

Some nights I have a hard time falling asleep after a couple of hours on the pickleball court–I am competitive, mostly with myself. And I want to get better. So I replay shots in my mind–analyze how I can make my game better and ponder on what I am doing wrong. I understand now how golfers feel–hit ten bad shots and one good shot, and that one good shot will be enough to make you want to show up the next day and try again. 

This night was no different. I did have a difficult time falling asleep after our two hours of play. It wasn’t the way I played though, that kept me awake. It was the memories of the day, I couldn’t seem to put them to rest. 

No, I don’t know all of their stories–I don’t need to know. However, I do know a little.  Three of us are breast cancer survivors–all having fought a different battle–different struggle–each wearing unique battle scars.  There’s one who’s had two knee replacements–another, her back gives her problems from time to time. And we are here–laughing–cheering each other on–encouraging every good shot and bad shot–every good game. 

And on a side note, when tomorrow comes–a “senior” pickle baller may move a little slower when they first get out of bed, and that’s okay.  Cause when that familiar alarm rings and the phone lights up with the message, ‘Pickleball today, anyone? This afternoon?’ New life sets in those sore muscles–tired feet come to life, and you can bet your last dollar there will be a game to play. Somewhere. 

And the radio, it blares out Gypsy and memories come to mind of sitting in a packed arena some forty plus years ago watching Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac on stage performing this very song. And I open my journal and the words I wrote just a few days ago from writer and author Austin Kleon ring so true, “Don’t throw any of yourself away.  If you cut the things out of your life that you really love, you’re just going to be a really sad person.” 


A humble and heartfelt thank you for reading The Saturday Journal.

My prayer is to share The Saturday Journal every Saturday or at least bi-weekly--

 and the stories shared here in this space will bless you in some small way.

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All photos @copyright Tathel Miller, unless otherwise credited to another photographer.


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