It's sweet to rediscover love with a high school paramour 20 or 30 years after graduation. But to rediscover skateboarding at age 42? That sounds more like early-onset dementia than the sweet whispers of a nostalgic heart.
Don't tell that to Barb Odanaka, founder of the International Society of Skateboard Moms. She credits skateboarding with keeping her sane. 'It is total freedom,' says this 42-year-old mom. 'When you're skating you can't think about changing a diaper. It's almost a Zen thing.'
More than ever, adults are rediscovering the hobbies of their youth -- and no one is chiding them for undertaking juvenile pursuits. 'This is no pining for a second childhood,' writes Tracey Minkin in Body + Soul (Sept. 2005). People are merely coming full circle.
'We are the same person throughout our lives,' says Victoria Moran, author of Younger by the Day: 365 Ways to Rejuvenate Your Body and Revitalize Your Spirit. 'Just because we let something go, something that we outgrew in our intellect, doesn't mean that our soul outgrew it.'
Where the soul is willing, the body is often less resilient than it was 20 years earlier, however. If you return to the ballet studio, as Charlotte Breed Handy, a 41-year-old Rhode Island architect, recently did, you will discover unexpected joys as well as muscles you never knew you had. 'It had been 16 years since I'd done a pli?,' says Handy. 'I was sore in places I hadn't been sore in a long time.'
But the challenge, like the giddy fun, is part of the benefit of returning to youthful endeavors. New activities keep both body and mind limber. 'You're totally one with the moment,' says Odanaka of the mental challenge of midlife skateboarding, 'or you're gonna die.'