• Fundamentals for Fun at Fifty-Five

    1. Dare to try new things

    2. Say yes to opportunities

    3. Relax, smile, dance away your worries

    4. If not now, when?

    5. Just do it (you can analyze later)

  • Discounts for Fifty-Five +

    Golden Griddle Restaurant - 10% discount (excluding alcohol)
    Shoppers Drug Mart - 20% discount on Thursdays
    Zellers - 20% discount first Monday of month
    Thrifty Rental - 5% off time and mileage
    Best Western - 10% off room rates
    Sandman Hotels - 25% off room rates
    Howard Johnson Hotels - 10% off room rates

  • Fifty-Five is …

    fabulous, fanciful, fancy-free, fantastic, far-out, fashionable, fearless, feisty, fiery, fine, flamboyant, flashy, flattering, flirtatious, folksy, forthright, fortunate, foxy, frank, free, fresh, friendly, frivolous, fulsome, fun, funky, funny

She Flies Through The Air …

#13 – Go to circus school

Okay, I’ll be honest. When I added this item to my list originally, I really didn’t think it would happen. But that’s the magic of creating a list – once it’s written down, the “impossible” becomes possible.

And so it was that, a week ago, my daughter and I headed to the Toronto School of Circus Arts. On most Friday nights, they have a drop-in flying trapeze class (who knew?) and we’d decided to give it a try.

I thought we’d start by learning how to swing ever so gently by our knees on the low bars I could see in the large facility. Nope. The instructors had us all sit down on the floor mats and look up – way, way up – to the platform (gulp) and the bar (gulp again) and the metal extension ladder that we’d climb to get there.

Look up, w-a-y up!

I thought I was going to throw up.

Thinking about throwing up …

I watched as, one by one, participants were strapped into the harness and began the l-o-n-g climb up the ladder. I began to sweat. Profusely. My daughter seemed cool as a cucumber.

It was my turn. How had I gotten myself into this? My daughter reminded me that it would make a great blog story and I think I muttered something about “if I survive to tell the tale”.

The instructor tightened the harness around my mid-section. I couldn’t breathe. I took off my glasses and headed to the base of the ladder.

Whose idea was this???

Have I ever mentioned that I don’t like heights? Ladders with more than three rungs leave me shaking. This one must have had 30 or more. I lost count. I was focused on placing each foot one at a time.

Finally I reached the platform. It was a lot narrower that it appeared from the ground. I was grateful I couldn’t see (for once, being near-sighted was an advantage!)

It’s a long way down

I reached forward and grabbed the bar with one hand while clutching the platform wire with the other.  With the instructor holding my harness firmly from behind, I grabbed the bar with my other hand. Then it was time to jump.

I couldn’t.

She gently nudged me and suddenly I was soaring. Terrified, but soaring.

I wasn’t able to get my legs up so I could hang from my knees like my daughter and most of the other participants. Although the third time, I came within inches of getting my toes to the bar. If I’d managed to do that, I just know I would have been able to get my knees over. Would I have let go with my hands? I guess we’ll never know.

I did do a gorgeous back flip dismount however. Check it out in the video.

Pretty fab for a fifty-five year old, don’t you think??!!

For more photos, go to my Photos and Quotes page 🙂

Be Careful What You Wish For

It’s funny how easily and unexpectedly wishes can become reality. When I wrote my Fun List, I added a couple of items that seemed fun but probably wouldn’t happen. One of those items (#13) was particularly unlikely, or so I thought.

If you check the list, you’ll see that #13 says “Go to circus school”. I’m not sure where the idea came from. After all, I’m afraid of heights and most things in a circus involve being up off the ground, twisting, turning, spinning, flying … However, it was something that really wanted to be on the list, so there you have it.

A week ago, I was at a friend’s birthday party. I happened to mention this blog and the 55 things I want to do this year. Someone asked, “What’s the wildest thing on your list?”

There are a few wild things (in my opinion) on the list, but for some reason, I said, “Go to circus school.”

I couldn’t believe what he said next.

“Hey, a good friend of mine goes to circus school in Toronto once a week. He’s been doing it for a couple of years now and says it’s addicting.”

Toronto? That’s like an hour’s drive away. Completely do-able.


So I looked it up online. The Toronto School of Circus Arts has programs for all ages and levels of interest. You can even train to become part of their performance school – Cirque Sublime! There’s a drop-in class for the flying trapeze on Friday nights over the summer for only $25, and a range of other ground and aerial classes.

The one that caught my eye was the Chinese pole. When I was a kid, we had a round television antenna at the back of the house and I used to shinny up it with ease. No one else in the neighbourhood could do it. They’d get a few inches off the ground and slip-slide back down. My father said I was built like a monkey – short and sturdy with long fingers and toes. I was a gymnast  as well, so hopefully there’s still some muscle memory left!

I happened to mention the circus school idea to my daughter. She was excited about the flying trapeze. “If you’re going to do it, Mom, I’ll be there,” she said, “and I’ll do it too.”

Gulp again.

It’ll happen sometime this summer. Don’t worry. There will be photos!!

  • Julie Wise is …

    a writer, author (Dream BIGGER: Reclaiming a Life of Joy and Ease), life/relationship coach and an intuitive healer by day. By night, she dances flamenco, thrives on chocolate and good red wine (shiraz will do!) She secretly plots to change the world, one dream at a time.
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