By DARRIN SMITH
I’ve reached an age where it has become painfully obvious to me that my physical abilities have begun to diminish. This has been true for several years, but it’s been a slow progress that has snuck up on me without my notice. I suppose I’ve known it for a while subconsciously but just didn’t realize it. For instance, last summer I spent the day at the lake with Sydney, her boyfriend, Cole, and his family. It was a great day on the lake, and they took me to a place where there was a high rock to jump off. In the past, I would have gladly made the climb up and took the plunge without even thinking about it. Last year however, I hesitated and then flatly said, “No way am I doing that!”
Little things like that have been happening more and more recently. A couple of weeks ago, Cash, Cole’s brother, brought his motorcycle to the house and of course I jumped on for a ride. To be sure, I’ve never felt entirely comfortable on a dirt bike, but this one scared me with its power. It was even difficult to get on and off the thing without some assistance. I laughed it off and said four-wheelers were more my speed. However, even those have somewhat lost their appeal in the past few years, if I’m being honest.
In my youth, I would ride anything with heals, or hooves for that matter, and never worry about the risk. I’d ride the fastest street bikes out there just as fast as one would go and never even consider the ‘what ifs’ if a crash were to occur. It just wasn’t in my brain to worry. Now, worry is always present. After our car wreck last January, pain is far too real and unpleasant to be ignored. Watching sports these past few years at the ground level has also made me realize, my best days of physical activity are gone. I see what these young athletes go through and cringe because I know half of it would put me in the hospital or even kill me.
Realizing that, it’s time to stop looking for the thrills of youth and start looking for the thrills of an older man. Thrills of watching my daughter become a woman and anticipating all the milestones coming her way. Thrills of staying healthy to reach retirement to enjoy all the plans April and I have for the future. Thrills of walking my baby girl down the aisle someday. Thrills of eventually becoming a grandfather. Thrills of a day spent on the lake relaxing on the boat, simply enjoying time with friends and family. Thrills of a simple life lived in the best way possible and so on and so forth. Definitely not the adrenaline laced thrills of my youth anymore!
I have often heard the saying, “Youth is wasted on the young,” and the older I get the more the saying rings true. When a person is young, they have all the physical abilities one could ask for. They rip and roar without a care and usually shake off injury like it is no big deal. They have all the time in the world for fun even if they can’t afford much. They get into mischief and mayhem as often as changing their socks and on and on. Having all that fun during your youth comes at a price though. As a result later in life, getting out of bed and being able to walk without a serious limp means it is going to be a good day.
Still though, there are plenty of perks to growing older. For instance, I finally figured out what the important things are. I’ve learned to cherish quiet moments. I’ve learned that time with family and friends means everything even if it is just time spent doing nothing. There is a downside though. Now that I’m financially able to do a lot of things I dreamed about doing when I was young, I spent all my physical credits in my youth and no longer have them to pay with now.
It’s just a thought but one worth thinking.
By DARRIN SMITH