Challenging the Boundaries of Aging: My Unforgettable 5-Day Cattle Drive Adventure
Jun 18, 2023
Life is an adventure, and age should never limit our pursuit of new experiences. At 51 years old, I embarked on a remarkable journey that tested my physical and mental capabilities, while pushing me far beyond my comfort zone. Join me as I recount my five-day cattle drive, where I discovered resilience, built confidence, made lifelong friends, and demonstrated the power of aging strong.
Preparing for the Unknown: To ensure I was ready for this extraordinary endeavor, I dedicated three months to horseback riding lessons. Although my skills were still rudimentary, I believed in my ability to adapt and learn along the way. Little did I know that this adventure would challenge me in ways I never anticipated.
Facing Fear Head-On: As the journey began, one of the cowboy's horse slipped and fell on the soft terrain caused by substantial amount of rainfall, which is uncommon in Northern Nevada this time of the year. I'm not going to lie, I was terrified realizing the potential danger that lay ahead. My trepidation only intensified as eight riders were unseated from our horses during the early stages of the drive. I was riddled with self-doubt, both in my horsemanship abilities and mental abilities to push past the day's events. However, some where deep inside I figured out how to 'Cowboy Up' determination to conquer my fears and continue the journey.
Navigating Treacherous Terrain: Driving cattle through hillsides, over washouts, and amid tall sagebrush and stress was no small feat. The physical demands were immense, but I refused to let doubt deter me. My years training in CrossFit totally paid off. Single leg squats and step ups transferred to getting into the saddle from the ground. Balance works from squats, box jumps, jump rope all transferred to balance in the saddle when trotting or climbing hills. With every challenge overcome, I grew more confident in my abilities and embraced the essence of the cowboy spirit within me.
Stepping Outside My Comfort Zone: Nightfall brought a new set of challenges as I retired to a tent, something I had never done before. Sleeping on the ground is not my idea of comfort or fun. To add to the experience, we had torrential down pouring rain one night. The next morning we had to wake up at 4am and pack camp in the dark. The only light I had was a small tent light that I held in my teeth dangling by a carabiner (no photos of that - lol). With each passing night, building my little camp, pitching my tent, I discovered the beauty of simplicity and the resilience that lay dormant within me.
The Rollercoaster of Emotions: As tears welled in my eyes, I realized that this adventure was an emotional rollercoaster. Fear mingled with joy as I navigated unpredictable circumstances. The tears shed were a testament to the intensity of the experience and the overwhelming sense of accomplishment that followed.
Finding Courage and Building Confidence: Throughout the journey, I battled self-doubt, questioning my capabilities and readiness. Yet, in the face of adversity, I unearthed an unyielding well of courage that allowed me to push forward. Each small victory fueled my confidence, reinforcing the idea that strength knows no age boundaries.
Gratitude for Our Bodies: Reflecting on the hardships and triumphs of the cattle drive, I couldn't help but feel grateful for what my body allowed me to achieve. Our bodies are remarkable vessels, capable of far more than we give them credit for. Keeping it in a semi-decent shape and working out 5 days a week made then physical part so much easier. This adventure was a celebration of the resilience and tenacity that accompany the process of aging.
Embracing the Spirit of the Cowboy: Amidst the challenges, I found myself engaging in "cool cowboy shit." Galloping alongside the herd, feeling the dust in my face, and relishing the beauty of the untamed countryside were moments that transported me to a different era. The spirit of the cowboy became a part of me, forever etched in my heart.
Forming Lasting Connections: The cattle drive brought together individuals from different walks of life, united by a shared desire to challenge themselves. It was so inspiring to see some of them as old as 80. We faced the hardships together, bonds were forged that will last a lifetime. The camaraderie and support of my fellow riders transformed strangers into lifelong friends.
Inspiring Others to Age Strong: This adventure was not just about personal growth; it was about inspiring others, especially women over 50, to push their physical and mental boundaries. I wanted to show that age should never be a deterrent to pursuing new experiences and embracing the unknown. To me, Old Lady Gains is more than just an apparel company, by sharing my story, I hope to encourage others to step outside their comfort zones and discover their own resilience.
My five-day cattle drive was an extraordinary journey filled with fear, triumph, tears, and laughter. Through this experience, I shattered preconceived notions of what a woman over 50 can achieve. It reminded me that life's greatest adventures often lie just beyond the borders of our comfort zones. By challenging ourselves physically and mentally, we unlock a wellspring of courage and build unwavering confidence. So, let us age strong, inspire others, and revel in the limitless possibilities that life has to offer.