My family and I saw a recent movie where one of the characters who starts the movie complaining about growing old ultimately realizes that getting to his advanced age is really a gift.
Most people who know me know that I lost my father when he (and I) were very young. Yesterday would have been my father’s birthday – he would have been 86. Sadly, he left us at 56. Amazingly, he’s been gone now for almost 30 years. 30 years!!!! I’ve been without him for more than half my life, longer than the 27 years I’ve been married, and the entire lives of my kids.
I don’t take growing old for granted.
Among the many things I learned from my father, his illness and death drove home that despite best laid plans, there’s no guarantee that the future will work out as you hope, or even that there will be a future. Heavy stuff, I know. But rather than letting that realization get me down, it’s had the opposite effect on me.
I try to find something to laugh about everyday. When given the choice to smile or not, I smile. I spend time with friends. I travel. I talk to my kids and tell them I love them. If not everyday, then nearly everyday.
If I ended up with less time on this planet than I hope to, I’m sure I will have regrets. But I’m trying to keep that to a minimum. Everyday, every week and every year, I try to live the life I would aspire to. But rather than aspire, I do it.
Happy Birthday, Dad! And thanks for the lesson.