Masculine Conversations

Masculine Conversations

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Growing Up vs. Growing Old

I recently read a great article by John Fisch over on, on the subject of "Growing Up vs. Growing Old." Here's a section I especially liked, about the importance of enjoying the moment and making the best use of time (Read the rest of the article here):

A little grey need not keep you off the bike! (photo:  BetterRide)

. . . Why is it that so many choose to age passively, to rail in vain against the natural order of things, or worse, to say that since one’s best days are behind, why look forward?

. . . Baggage is bad.  Carrying baggage wastes time and energy, our two most precious resources.  Time in particular is a non-renewable resource.  Once it’s gone, there’s nothing we can do to regain it.  That’s why wasting time is so tragic.   That’s why we tend to agonize over things we should have done differently.  But that agonizing only perpetuates the process of wasting time.  As tragic as the loss of past time may be, the one thing even more tragic is wasting the time we have left.  Worrying about the past only prevents us from fully enjoying the present and preparing for the best possible tomorrow.  “Could’a,” “Should’a,” and “Would’a” ought’a be four letter words, as they add nothing to the joy of life.  Part of growing up is learning to shed baggage.  Those who keep dragging it around get old.  My relatively late entry into mountain biking brought with it both baggage as well as the wisdom to leave it behind.

I didn’t get my first bike until age 35, and the sport immediately provided me with a unique pleasure which literally transformed my life.  It made me both fitter and happier.  The benefits were physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.  Having found such enjoyment, I soon began to lament the fact that I had waited until middle age to get started.  At 35, I had already peaked physically and knew I would never be the cyclist I could have been.  I found the situation intolerable.  How could I have denied myself this?  Just think of all the great experiences I could have had, all the great trails I could have ridden, had I started earlier!  Look at all I’ve missed!  But as I matured over the next few years, I realized all that negativity was impacting my ability to enjoy the wonder that was currently laid out before me, and I resolved to waste not one iota of thought or energy lamenting what could have been, but rather I exploited it in service of what is and what could be.

One of many features I’m happy to ride at 50 that I wouldn’t have considered at 35. On the “Lunch Line” trail in the Lunch Loops, Grand Junction CO.

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