So what should you do when you finally break 60?
And no – I don’t mean in golf. If that was the case, all that the world would be hearing from you would be a gleeful chuckle as you headed out for a top spot on the PGA tour!
No – I’m talking about the big six-zero which used to mark the point at which small children and smart-ass teenagers starts calling you, “Gramps”. Yeah… that “60”.
But isn’t today’s common wisdom that sixty is the new fifty and fifty is the new forty and so on…? And I gotta admit that I don’t feel much like a “Gramps” or even a “Pops”. So then why should I even be thinking about giving up any of the stupid stuff that I used to do when bones weren’t brittle and muscles didn’t tear like tissue paper? Well yeah – I guess that would be a reason wouldn’t it?
On the other hand… What about not surrendering to “Father Time”? Not going “gently into that good night” even though your grown children start holding family meetings about having you committed to the nearest looney bin?
Let me explain.
Some forty years ago a few buddies and I came up with our own peculiar sport that combined back-woods hiking and rock climbing with cross country skiing. The idea of this rather unusual amalgamation was to hike up into rocky, backwoods terrain after a good size winter snow fall and climb up some hill and ski back down using the natural fall line over fallen trees, stumps, rocks, ravines and deadfalls. And just to make it more interesting, the handicap we put in place was that you couldn’t remove your skis – not for going up or coming down or even climbing up rocks. The skis had to stay on. (Hey – I didn’t say it was a particularly rational sport – after all … we were twenty – what the hell did we know?)
At what point do you stop racing cars and motorcycles? Quit jumping out of airplanes? Hang gliding? Mogul skiing? Downhill racing? Surfing? Mountain climbing? Sky diving?
One the one hand, you’re only as old as you think you are – right? On the other hand, when you look in the mirror, what do you see staring back at you – the twenty year old kid or someone with a few more grey hairs than you recall the last time you looked?
So when does discretion become the better part of valor? And when do you finally take that good advice your mother always gave and finally “grow up and act your age”?
Now in my case, I was forced to give that question some serious consideration recently when while engaged in my favorite ski/climbing sport, I tumbled fifteen feet down a ravine and tore up both knees. And I had quite a bit of time to think. About six months on a cane and many more of re-hab.
And I did think about it. What was I trying to prove? Bones and muscles are not going to bounce back the way they did forty years ago. Wasn’t it time to come to terms with reality? Maybe I could take up something a little more sedate – say… shuffleboard? Hummmm?
Even though ‘Father Time’ may be whacking us up alongside the head with sprains, bruises and aching joints, I don’t think that too many candles on a birthday cake is any reason to hang it up.
How about you?
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Author of: The McCarthy Mystery Series