(If I’d known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself!) Just kidding! I celebrated my 85th birthday by buying a new Harley-Davidson. I had ridden motorcycles since I was a teenager and never had a serious accident. Then, ten years ago I fell four feet off a ladder and broke my back and had to give up riding. I have a five inch steel brace and about a dozen screws across three vertebra on my backbone. I’m better now, and I missed riding more than anything else.
I’m telling you this because I want you to know that just because you are getting older, doesn’t mean that you have to stop “living.” I see too many people, much younger than I am, sitting around on their asses watching “Dancing with the Stars” and getting obese. That’s just stupid.
I walk 4 miles every other day, winter and summer, to keep my body going. Does it hurt? With a broken back you’re damned right it hurts. It hurts like hell. But you youngsters might as well learn it now. LIFE hurts, and you’re not going to have mama (or Obama) around to kiss it and make it all well. But you work through the pain because it is worth it. I write “Thrillers” that are published by Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s Nook to keep my brain active. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink alcohol or take drugs, and I don’t eat junk food. I eat organic food whenever it is available. I try to sleep 8 hours a night (if my wife doesn’t snore – please don’t tell her I said that!).
Here’s the deal – No matter how old you are, you can keep doing the things you love, you just have to readjust a bit. For instance, my new bike is not as big as the ones I used to ride. But it is just the right size for me to handle at my age. And I won’t be making long cross-country trips like I used to do. I realize that my reflexes are not as sharp as they once were. So I have to exercise more “situational awareness” to allow for those crazy Atlanta drivers who never seem able to see motorcyclists.
I have a good friend who is now in his 90s. He was once such a good golfer he was on the PGA tour. He’s had both knees replaced, a hip replaced, and he still plays golf almost every day. But now he tees off from the “lady’s tee.” He still shoots his age, which ain’t bad for a guy who’s about 92 or 93.
I hope I have made my point. And that is, you can handle your advancing age in two ways. You can say, “I’m too old” and settle into the lounge chair and watch reruns of “I love Lucy.” Or, you can get back out there and do the things you love, with minor adjustments for your age, and you will be happier, healthier, and will wring all the good out of life that it has to offer.
One more thing and this may be the most important of all. If you are not living with someone who truly loves you with no strings attached – you might want to reconsider your options. It’s never too late. It took me two failed marriages to find the woman who loves me just because I am “me.” We’ve been married for twenty years and we are happy. This is not a rehearsal, folks. This is the main event. When this is over, it’s over. Make the time you have left as enjoyable as possible.