Here it is, the end of the third week of what feels like senior camp in Arizona. Oh it’s not quite the same as the summer camp of my youth, but there are similarities – like nap time in the afternoon.
A few years ago, Kathy introduced me to the notion of renting at an age-restricted, 55+ active senior community. I was hesitant at first. Now, I’m visiting my third community and I love it, and it does feel like camp, except for the meals.
So what have I liked so far?
Well first, there are the swimming pools, and that’s no different than when I was ten. But these pools are designed with walking lanes, with and against the current, and you can go at any pace you want, and for as long as you want, and really get a good workout. Two years ago, we stayed at Sun City Grand, and the single walking lane was constantly clogged by a clique of senior women, requiring a code to pass. This year at both Sun City West and Sun City, I’ve never had to navigate a log-jam, thanks in large part to the design of the pools. Yes, you can also swim laps in another section of the pool, but really, that takes so much more effort.
Next, there are the crafts, but this is like saying all you need are a pair of children’s scissors and a glue stick. I have visited several groups but haven’t engaged in any due to the shorter duration of our stay. We did arrive a day early just to attend the massive Arts and Craft Fair at Sun City West. The silver jewelry, woodworking and pottery always catch my eye the most, but a tile colored with alcohol paints is coming home with me.
If fitness is your thing, good for you, because there are dozens and dozens of classes and clubs and golf courses, and I won’t compete with you for any of them. Other than a few miles on a recumbent bike here and there, I can’t give you any more information.
Organized sports, cards and games, clubs organized around interests, lifelong learning classes, entertainment, houses of worship, libraries, really whatever you can possibly think of to make your life as fulfilling as possible and seriously, what’s wrong with that. Kathy and I paid our $5 and are now official members of the Sun City Line Dancing Club. Lookout! Don’t call us Tuesday or Thursday mornings – we’re busy.
One day, we drove to Scottsdale and visited the Music Instrument Museum. Amazing! Zithers, horns, drums, rattlers, flutes and recorders. Who knew there were so many variations.
What’s not to like?
Well, you still have to cook. Otherwise this would be called a nursing home and it sure isn’t that.
There are some restrictions. Let’s say you want to paint your house tiger-lily orange. Unfortunately, you can’t (and your neighbors will be grateful.)
I’ve known people who scoff at these communities. “You’re surrounded by old people.” If you’re over 55, have you looked at yourself lately? Have you surveyed your group of friends? Neighbors? Church associates? Seriously, most of us hang with people our own age. What has astonished me the most are the young families that are here visiting grandpa and grandma, and its so fun to see, with activities planned just for the kiddos.
There will always be characters at places like this that will make you raise your eyebrows so much, you’ll fear they won’t rest at ease. Like Bob in the neon blue and hot pink speedo hanging at the pool, in the first available chair. Enough Bob, really, we all know that you’re long, slim, and lean. Further proof isn’t necessary.
Stella is another regular pool fixture as well. It was the jangle of her turquoise and shell anklet that alerted me to her presence. Then I heard her two-pack a day voice before I peered through my sunglasses to see she most likely enjoyed some rich late afternoon snacks with her dirty martinis. Or maybe she was a Pabst Blue Ribbon gal, long before that got trendy again. Her dark brown leathery skin was a nice contrast to her pink leopard print string bikini top that morphed into a one piece defying the laws of spandex. One day, we heard her tell a man to “f*** off” and he just laughed. That was probably against one of the pool regulations, but I wasn’t going to tell her.
Starting tomorrow, we have a lot more activities planned beginning with a literary festival in nearby Wickenberg, so come back in another few weeks to see how camp closes out for us. Though it’s not an adventure a day like when I was ten, it’s adventure enough, and that’s just fine with me.