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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Challenge vs. Disappointment

As Young As You Feel
The very popular saying is “You are only as old as you feel!”  No one can argue with that.  I would add that to stay fit and young feeling, you should keep challenging yourself to do what you must do, to maintain your health and appearance.  With very little limitations you can pretty much do anything you set your mind out to do.  Care must be taken not to take on a bigger challenge than you should, and set yourself up for disappointment.
My whole life I’ve felt that I could do anything (physically) that I wanted to do.  One thing out of the questions is to challenge myself to do what I could do 10 or 20 years earlier.  As we get older our recovery time from injury takes longer, our injuries can possibly be more serious.  Whenever possible, I’ve appreciated learning from the mistakes of others.  There isn’t enough time in this lifetime to make all the mistakes myself.
I’ve had many good and great friends all my life, and even more acquaintances, that bordered on crossing over to be qualified as friends.  It’s from those around me the closest that I tried to learn from.  One friend that I admired for the way he raised his family once told me about an awakening he had while on snow skiing vacation.  He had just turned 49 years old and was on the typical family skiing vacation that had been a family tradition since his son and daughter started skiing.  He mentioned that half way through the 5 day vacation following Thanksgiving, he found himself on his back at the First Aid Station at the Ski Resort.  He had twisted his right knee and was in horrible pain.
It seems he had been competing with his 23 year old son and 21 year old daughter and her boyfriend on the slopes when he was injured.  Up to the time of the injury he was putting on quite a competitive show.  While waiting to be attended to, he started looking around and observed that most of the other injured people were in their teens and twenties.  He began to question if it wasn’t time to allow his children to compete with their friends and become a little more of a spectator himself.  The vacations continued for many more years, but he began to have more fun skiing with his wife instead of leaving her at the lodge, because she was smart enough not to go and compete with the young ones.
Another friend was 76 years old and very active in the community (we initially met while serving on various boards of the community), he actually sat on very prominent boards; United Way (of that particular county), Visiting Nurses, and Hospice, just to mention a few.  One day coming out of a building where they had just met for a Visiting Nurses board meeting, after saying his good byes and flirting with the nurses, he tripped on the sidewalk and bumped his head into a parked car’s bumper.  He was attended to by the nurses that loved him, and appreciated him, and he asked that I be contacted.
I rushed out of my office to his location and picked him up, but he refused to let me take him to the emergency room or his personal physician.  The nurses had already assessed that it was just a minor bump and small cut on his forehead.  What the nurses didn’t see was the serious injury to his ego (disappointment).  He refused to accept that he could benefit from using a cane or walker (he had already been told by his doctor that he could use the assist).  He actually explained to me while tears were streaming down his face that he had acted like an old fool.  In order to maintain what he felt was a younger appearance in front of the beautiful young ladies, he refused to use a cane or walker, and now he went and tripped in front of their office.
Well he got all the attention that those young nurses could render to a fine gentleman that they loved, admired and respected, but he would only allow me to pick him up to console him.  I drove him to one of his favorite restaurants and treated him to warmed apple pie and ice cream to sooth his ego.  That was my best friend that I have written about before Joe L.  The best is yet to come…

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