Thoughts on Getting Older
|Dec 1, 2012
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I don't hate getting older. It is the natural progression of life. But I think the strangest thing about being older is that I don't mentally feel old. My body is slowing down and showing some signs of wear but I just don't feel old mentally. I look in the mirror and see an older me but I am mentally still a young man. When I am 80 will I still recognize myself in the mirror?
When young, I thought anything was possible if I just worked hard enough. I could be an astronaut or even president. Now I think more about events in the past than possibilities in the future. There is just more time behind me than in front of me. The possibility of being an astronaut or president is gone. Maybe I realized that when men younger than me started becoming president.
I am lucky in that I knew many years ago life is about the journey not the destination. I am enjoying the journey. I have a 'bucket list' and I've achieved quite a few of my goals. However my aging body is beginning to remove some of them as possibilities. Failing eyesight in one eye means I will never get my private pilots license. But I still plan to drive a Dodge Cummins from home to Fairbanks Alaska with my wife. It will take several months, I will take thousands of photos, write boring blog posts about all the history along the way and have a great time.
I am missing my sons and they are not yet gone. From diapers to driving my truck we've been through it all. We have traveled to all the lower 48 states, many more than once. They both have their drivers license now and I suddenly realized that we rarely go places together in the same vehicle. My chauffeur duties have ended. If they need to go someplace, they just drive. That turns out to be handy when the Mrs. and I want nachos or Chinese food on Friday night. I just send a teenager to get it.
But I do miss the times when a hug from daddy solved all their problems. My boys have turned out pretty well. We've made it through the hardest part of the teen years. Part of that was because of me, part was simply genetics/luck and part of it was the friends they chose. Tell your kids to pick their friends wisely. But I still miss the two little toddlers laying next to Daddy on the couch in front of a fire as we watch some silly movie late into the night. Maybe that is why grandparents spoil their grandchildren.
I don't have many regrets and for that I am thankful. I wish I could have a "do over" on the few times I have not been kind to people. I have apologized where I can. I have learned most folks are good people and treating them with kindness, respect and honesty makes me feel good inside and is just the right thing to do. And it almost always gives a good outcome with a customer service representative or a state trooper about to give me a ticket. Be kind to people. You will remember the times you were not. Be a "glass half full" kind of person.
As someone who enjoys history I wish had listened more to the old men of my childhood. The one who drove a tank for General Patton in WWII, the one who was a nurse in WWII or the one who fought the Japanese in the South Pacific. I wish I could have one day with them now to ask a few questions. And with my recent interest in genealogy I wish I had asked more questions of my grandparents and recorded some of the family stories from the "old days".
I am thankful for my parents and how I was raised. My physical home is no longer in Ky but the first 21 years of my life in the hills of eastern Ky shaped my morals, my sense of self, my attitude about life and all that is good about me.
Time seems to move faster now. A friend told me he thinks it is because when you are young, a year of living is a significant part of your total life. As you get older a single year out of many is not such a big deal. I think most of us will wonder where all the years went.
I have done the same type of work my whole career. Sometimes you have to just take a job to pay the bills, but if at all possible, find a job you really enjoy. There are still days I don't stop for lunch because I am having so much fun.
I have a great wife. We were friends long before we were husband and wife. We are mature and wise enough to let the little things slide without a fight and we talk about the big things before they become a fight. Or maybe we are just too lazy to fight. We have many common interests but also hobbies we pursue separately. We know our love is strong and always assume the best in the other. That eliminates silly misunderstandings. She is low maintenance.
Make sure your wrinkles are from laughter, not from worry about things you can not change. A positive attitude rounds a lot of sharp edges and helps you to see some good in just about any bad situation. Which reminds me of a story to end this thing. The boys were young, probably under 10. Early one morning on the way to school we had to stop for a traffic light and there was a dead deer beside us on the shoulder of the road. It had been dead for some time and there were large black birds pulling long stringy entrails from a bloody gaping hole. The boys were watching in silence and I was wondering what trauma was being caused by them watching Bambi being eaten. Then Bradley says "Daddy, at least the birds won't be hungry." I took them to school and nothing more was said. Always look first for the good in any situation.
So be good, do good, be kind, have a sense of humor and always see a glass half full, not half empty.
You may be interested in the next article, Construction of our Garden Pond.
The previous article is Character, Honesty and Integrity.
© Bobby Daniel