Enjoy the ride; there’s no return ticket

Published 9:28 am Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Now in the 66th year of my life, there’s a whole lot more in the rear view mirror than what’s up front in the windshield.

Yep….I’ve been pondering a lot about life as of late. I would like to draw in as many breaths as I can, but the number isn’t up to me, but rather to my Maker.

I would love to see my grandson smack his first homerun; score his first touchdown; swish his first three-pointer; boot his first goal into the soccer net; fall in love for the first time; graduate from high school; and possibly even get married, but that’s up to my Maker.

Once you reach the age of 50, thoughts of life’s longevity become the norm. Those thoughts become more and more frequent upon adding birthdays after that point.

Low and behold, while having one of those thoughts today, an email from a good friend – Bobby “Keys” Eure – popped up. It was entitled George Carlin’s views on aging. For those unfamiliar with Carlin, he was a professional comic way ahead of his time, and one of my all-time favorites. Ironically, the 71-year-old died on my 55th birthday in 2008. The following represents his views on aging:

Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we’re kids? If you’re less than 10 years old, you’re so excited about aging that you think in fractions.

‘How old are you?’ ‘ I’m four and a half!’ You’re never thirty-six and a half. You’re four and a half, going on five! That’s the key.

You get into your teens, now they can’t hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead.

‘How old are you?’ ‘I’m gonna be 16!’ You could be 13, but hey, you’re gonnabe 16! And then the greatest day of your life! You become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony. YOU BECOME 21. YESSSS!!!

But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There’s no fun now, you’re just a sour-dumpling. What’s wrong? What’s changed?

You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you’re PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it’s all slipping away.

Before you know it, you REACH 50, and your dreams are gone….but wait!! You MAKE it to 60. You didn’t think you would!

So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50, and make it to 60.

You’ve built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that, it’s a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday!

You get into your 80’s, and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime.

And it doesn’t end there. Into the 90s, you start going backwards; ‘I was JUST 92.’

Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. ‘I’m 100 and a half!’ May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!

Carlin’s comedic bit also included some advice on how to stay young:

Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay them.

Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

Surround yourself with what you love, whether it’s family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever.

Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.

And be sure to always remember that life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

These are lessons in life we can all abide by.

Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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