On my final morning in Beijing, we headed to The Temple of Heaven, a Taoist monument dedicated to praying to the heavens to bring a good harvest at the start of spring, and to offer thanks when it was done.
This is a 600+ year old building, that’s managed to survive the Japanese and British, and has been restored to its former glory for tourists the world over to enjoy.
This story however, isn’t about the monument, but about the fun that takes place in the surrounding grounds of 200+ acres surrounding the central buildings.
Over 55’s can buy an annual pass to the parklands surrounding the temple allowing unlimited annual entry for around $20AUD. Over 65’s are free. And you should see what these creative retirees are up to!
On entering at The North Gate, there were couples learning Rock & roll, and incongruously jiving away to classical Chinese tunes. Check them out here: http://youtu.be/DLVBi86HPoE
Others were honing their skills with a shuttlecock with an agile version of Hackysack. Paddles were available for those who prefer a racquet to using their feet and large and small groups were loving kicking it around. The feathered ball was also available for purchase for anyone wanting to take one home to try with the family. I’m kind of regretting now that I didn’t grab one off the touts for practice at home. Then I’d be a legend by retirement!
Others were learning or had mastered the art of tai chi and slowly went about their moves, completely engrossed and ignoring all onlookers.
One group of four that stopped us in our tracks was a human game of quoits and I captured a little on video. Their skills obviously the result of much practice. Check out their skills: http://youtu.be/dtwF4VzwvyQ
One woman regaled us with her operatic tunes while women danced, and more practiced their musical instruments, mostly brass, and loudly. And if not well, at least with enthusiasm.
I kid you not, I’m sure I heard bagpipes!
Others had dressed up in traditional Turkish garb and were practising their Whirling Dervish routines. And all with massive smiles of enjoyment on their faces at the fabulous gift of being alive and the wonderful sense of community they no doubt felt.
So, for all those who think retirement means hanging up the boots, an occasional game of golf or going home to die… Think again!
What was it you’ve always wanted to accomplish?
Maybe it’s time to find a tribe and invade your local park! Perhaps I won’t lock myself away in a mouldy attic to write a novel after all. It appears my seniors beach volleyball team awaits! Or salsa lessons… Retirement’s looking better to me every day! But hey! Why wait?