Live each day to the fullest because time catches up to you

            Sadly, I have reached that age! The result of this onset of “old-timers disease” has been two-fold.            First, I have become more aware of my body and not in a good way. When you are young, our body is just there, responding to our mental commands. We take it for granted.

            Today, I know its there. Parts begin to hurt for no apparent reason. I woke up the other day and my first step out of bed was excruciating. It felt like I had stepped on a red hot spike. I hobbled into the bathroom and after a hot shower, the pain had dissipated and has not returned. What is that all about?

            My back had also been bothering me for some time; possibly the result of a bad decision to play pick up basketball at the gym. I love the sport, but it’s not really a good idea to pursue some of the passions of our youth. After an MRI, the doctor showed me that I had one good disk left. One? Really, that’s it?

            Consequently, my behavior has changed. At a recent community event, I found myself sequestered in a corner with three other “men of a certain age” discussing our ailments, aches and pains. I stepped back and thought, “Is this really I all have to talk about.” I wandered off to find someone younger to talk to and distract me from myself.

            Also, I have become more conscious of time. By definition, it is a system of sequential relationships or a series of events which succeed one another. Officially it is measured by the rate of decay of matter-the atomic clock. Or, maybe I could measure it by my own decay.

            Conceptually, it is easiest to understand in its passage. The sad part is how I now recognize that progression. As with many of us aging baby boomers, I now take daily medicines. And, because my memory is not what it should be or once was, I have a weekly pill case with a little compartment for each day. Every week I fill it up. Then, I count down the days one by one until it is empty…another week gone by. How many do I have left: fifty two a year, maybe twenty-five more left…I don’t think I really want to know.

            It is now apparent that more time has passed behind me than lies in front. With that recognition, I suppose it would be easy to fall into a melancholy, bemoaning my own demise or grappling with my mortality. I may count days, but didn’t we also do that when we were younger. How many days until Christmas? Or a birthday? The difference now is that I don’t wish my life away like I did then-“I wish I could skip the next two weeks of exams until school is out.”

            I don’t feel that way anymore. Life has been full and I don’t expect it to be any less so in the future, albeit perhaps not as high intensity as it once was. I honestly think I enjoy little pleasures more. I wake up and look out over the hills and mist hanging over the pond and think, “How beautiful.” I watch my stupid dogs roll around or the cat smack the puppy when it comes to play and smile.

            I also appreciate people more. Barb and I spend the weekend tailgating at Virginia Tech. I played golf with my son Colton. I renewed friendships with other parents. It was truly a weekend to remember.

            Maybe as we get older that is what we really become, a repository of memories. Like some old tape recorder we make noises when we operate. The tape jumps and skips and sometimes gets wrapped around the capstan frustrating those around us. But ultimately, they are something worth holding on to.

            I have yet to give up on creating those memories. I am having fun watching my kids mature into adulthood. I am more proud of them than they can ever imagine. Hopefully, I will have grand kids to spoil and give back to their parents to deal with. There are always new places to see and people to meet.

            The days may pass onward, but they are no less full than they ever were, even if I’m a bit slower than I once was. Each day begins anew with all the potential the world has to offer. It would truly be a shame not to live it to the fullest.


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1 Response

  1. Greg Hensley says:

    Excellent comments this week, old friend. As a point of discussion, I don’t expect you to mellow out much…I haven’t…and I’m several years your senior. I think the biggest thing I’ve noticed is my appreciation of things I would have overlooked 20 years ago. This Christmas, as the wife and I marveled at how much the grand and great grand kids have grown, I found myself appreciating them for the tiny individuals they already are. Small gestures, funny ways of pronouncing words, even the way they interact with each other at the supper table…fascinating all. In a lot of ways, life is sweeter only because you look harder for the good and develop a blind eye to the things that are no longer important. Your priorities are changing, ole buddy, and not in a bad way. I appreciate the work I’m still able to do, the people I have doing it, and the people who still allow me to work for them. I like some of my friends because they are funny and I never know what to expect. Others because of long standing relationships and some by long association. Lately, I’ve noticed that I’m drawn to some people because of their accomplishments and attitude. I would never have prioritized those traits 20 years ago. I’ve learned that respect is almost as important in a friend’s relationship as any other component. I’m really glad I didn’t wait another 20 years to figure that out. I particularly appreciate that mix with you. You have a lot more going on than you think…give yourself a little break once in a while. Happy New Year, buddy!!!