Tim scowled. "Gave it up six months ago," he said. "I got to a certain point, and then I came to a standstill. I just couldn't get under 85, no matter what I did. In fact, on the average, my scores were starting to get higher again. So I faced up to it. Where golf was concerned I was on the skids."
"Well," I said. "That's too bad. But I hope you're not giving up exercise altogether. That's a mistake for someone who's always been active like you. I mean you could try croquet or—"
"I have recently taken up squash," Tim interrupted.
I stared at him in amazement. "At your age!" I exclaimed. "Squash is murder for just about anybody over 25. Switching from tennis to golf—that makes sense. But switching from golf to squash—that's absolutely ridiculous!"
"Well," said Tim, "of course I'm never going to win any championships at my age, but you'd be amazed at the progress I've made already. At first I knocked just about every ball into the tin. I was the most pathetic squash player you ever saw. Bill Jason could trim me 15-0 every game without even taking off his sweater. But last Saturday he only took me 15-7, 15-5. He says it's amazing how I'm improving. And he's not the only one. Charley Thomas and Brad—"
It was at this precise moment that, for the first time, I clearly perceived the pattern Tim was following: when he found he was over the hill at a sport, he gave it up instantly—even though he was still able to beat some people at it. He quit putting himself into the position of having to say to himself, "I used to be able to do this much better."
Under the Kellog plan, when that happens you immediately take up something new. Whether it is more or Jess strenuous than the sport you have abandoned has nothing to do with it. The only rule is: try something you have never tried before. It does not matter whether it is wrestling, horseshoe pitching or shuffle-board. If you have never tried it before, the only way you can go is up. Up to a certain point you are bound to improve. And when you reach that point—well, there is always something else.
Skiing at 64
The current something else in Tim's 64th year is skiing. ' "The first time—two months ago—was ludicrous," he told me recently. "I was just on a practice slope for kiddies, but even so I was either falling down or getting tangled up.
"But you should see me now. Oh, don't get me wrong. I don't expect to win any championships, not at my age, but I'm picking up things all the time. The pro says he doesn't see why I can't improve for at least another couple of years before I level off, and then—"