Advice, Lifestyle

Listen to your grandmother

On the precipice of tweenhood, I ditched Disney Channel and spent my TV time switching back and forth between TLC, Lifetime and other channels. You know, the classics — “Cake Boss,” “Jon & Kate Plus 8,” “DC Cupcakes.” All questionable shows for a 10-year-old me to be watching, but nothing held a flame to the triumphs and tribulations of “Dance Moms.” 

The obsession with Dance Moms was not unique to me. Most of my friends would also tune in every Tuesday night. This mutual love would inspire intense debate about whether Chloe or Maddie was the better dancer and which mom was right to be mad at Abby that particular week. We spent many of our sleepovers creating choreography and organizing dance competitions between ourselves.

Naturally, my mom recognized the obvious interest I had in dance and offered to enroll me in lessons. To her surprise, my answer was a strict no. Even better, the reason I declined trying a dance class or two was that I thought I was too old to start.

At the ripe old age of 10, starting a new hobby was unimaginable. I had decided my interests from that point on were cemented. For the rest of my life, I would play soccer, enjoy theater and bake. No longer were additions to that list allowed.

tennis player
A tennis player. Bailey writes about how her grandmother is the reason she doesn’t feel too old to pursue a new hobby. COURTESY OF JOHN FORNANDER VIA UNSPLASH

In reality, the idea of starting a new activity made me fairly nervous, and my way out of it was to blame my increasing age. However, through my senior year of high school, I stuck to these activities, and I wasn’t alone in doing so. For whatever reason, most kids I grew up with committed to the after-school activities they began in early elementary school. 

It becomes part of your identity — ‘I am a soccer player’ or ‘I am an actress’ — and that can be intimidating to mess with, whether it be taking time away from one hobby or the addition of a new one.

Well, it would be intimidating for most people. 

But not my grandmother. At 71 years old, my grandmother became a bowler — as in, jumping from never having bowled more than the average person to joining a full-fledged bowling league. 

For years now, bowling has held its ground as one of my grandmother’s favorite hobbies. It has created inspiration for bowling-themed Christmas presents and has been one of the most exciting topics in any conversation. 

And to think 10-year-old me was convinced it was too late to take up a new interest. 

A week or two ago, I found myself noticing tennis courts at a nearby park. Tennis always piqued my interest, but I had never thought to give it a try. In the spirit of my grandmother, I immediately asked my friends if any of them would play with me. Upon getting one of them to agree, a quick trip to Target was made — making me the proud owner of a tennis racquet — and I was on the court a few hours later.

Maybe it was the $25 investment, but over the past two weeks, I have been frequenting the local courts. I have found it to be such a great excuse to get outside and move while spending some quality time with my friend. 

Dare I say, tennis could be turning into a hobby. 

Now, this is not the story of an overnight tennis prodigy — oh, how I wish it was — but rather the story of someone who has learned life’s most valuable lesson. Your grandmother, more times than not, is probably right. Sorry, Mom. 

Something as silly as your age should not be what is holding you back. Even if you think you’ve passed your time, if an activity or potential hobby interests you, give it a try. Why not? Either come up with a better excuse not to or go sign up for your own bowling league.

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