It’s been said that youth is wasted on the young. At sixty-five years of age, I think I have the wisdom now to say that is one of the dumbest sayings I’ve ever heard. It has a certain ring to it, and it sounds to be wise, but think about this: We’re gifted with life for a purpose. Some of us are better at figuring out what our purpose is and many of us, well, we just float along until the final act. But, no matter how we approach life, each chapter provides a learning opportunity. Realizing that youth, young adulthood, middle age and if we’re fortunate to experience old age, all give us opportunities to learn, develop, contribute, become closer to God or just flop miserably. The opportunity is there at ever interval, so whether we’re good at using the opportunities or not, they’re not wasted.
Recently, I was having a conversation with my twenty-four-year old son, who is still residing at home. I mentioned to him how when many of us are young we feel vibrant, without many illnesses. It’s at that time that we feel as though we’ll live forever, with the physical vibrancy that we’re experiencing at the time. At sixty-five, having gone through the last fifteen years with Multiple Myeloma as my daily companion, I realize clearly that nobody is blessed to have excellent health. Ailments and frailties of various kinds just seem to lie in wait, anxious to pounce when you least expect them to do so. I can recall when I was in my mid-thirties; I would run five miles per day. The high I would get from the adrenaline rush and the sheer emotional joy of knowing I could do such a fete was quite satisfying. I promised myself back then that I would run until I was well into my eighties. That, of course was promise I had no ability to keep.
Exercise has been important to me as far back as I can remember. Although I got caught up in the habit of smoking cigarettes as a teen, I always had an interest in maintaining some degree of having good health. Through my college years, I would do pushups and various kinds of resistance exercises in my dormitory room. I was fortunate to have a room of my own most of my college days, so I didn’t have to worry with a roommate intruding on my private activities. Later, after college, I continued to smoke until I reached the age of 26. At 26, an urge to throw away the cigarettes took strong hold of me and I discarded them without hesitation. I’ve chalked my ability to do that as being that I really didn’t have a habit, since I experienced no difficulties with withdrawal. I threw away the cigarettes, bought a pair of running shoes and never looked back.
Today, I find myself blessed in retirement, with three adult children, two grandchildren and one great grandchild. My life has had its challenges, but all of its chapters have offered learning and growth opportunities, including the younger years.