In yet another failed social experiment, I joined a meetup group of over-50 hikers and signed up for what was described as a “brisk 5-mile walk” along an urban trail.
While the trail was fine, the walk was anything but brisk. There were a fair number of chatty slow pokes, and the leader paused every so often to let them catch up. At one point, I went ahead of the leader because the sauntering pace was killing me, but apparently you’re not allowed to get in front of the leader.
I do understand rules. They’re trying to keep everyone together and safe, but it was painful. I was eager to walk with a group, because I’ve read all the studies about social connections and well-being. However, I quickly realized you are only as fast as the slowest walker.
One of the women who was moseying along was raving about what a beautiful and perfect day it was. I was cold, because I couldn’t work up a sweat, and I was stuck behind her lumbering self, so I wouldn’t call that perfect.
I finally figured out how to slow down, although it felt like I was walking in place. I did chat with others, and it was all right, but the truth is I’d rather be alone and walk fast.
So, OK, I tried it, and I didn’t like it. I guess that means I’m still a loner. But you know what? I’m OK with that. When I was working, I thought I was anti-social because I was busy, tired, pissed or whatever. In retirement, all is revealed, and it turns out I’m just anti-social.
I’ve been like this all along, and it hasn’t killed me yet.
Donna Pekar is an aging badass (for real) who lives in California and writes Retirement Confidential.