By Ken DeLaat
“The older I grow, the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.”-H.L. Mencken
Man, who’d a thunk it?
I recall when I turned 30 and Lil threw this big party for me. We had a 1 year old son and unbeknownst to us we were just over 8 months away from having our daughter.
Life was busy, about to get busier. I was one year into a job I would spend the next 20 years at, we lived in a house we would leave a couple years later and in a city we’d leave a couple decades later.
And it seems like it was just...
A mere 40 years ago.
And now here comes 70, arriving seemingly out of the blue just as I was becoming accustomed to sexagenarianism. And if 70 is the new 40, then doddering is the new dancing.
This is probably the time of life when an aging scribe is supposed to philosophize about his years on earth. To eloquently pen some of the lessons learned in life while embarking on what looks to be the game of life’s 4th quarter with the possibility of overtime but an equal possibility of an early cancellation.
However this implies one has somehow gathered wisdom by virtue of having walked on this earth long enough to have spanned 14 presidents, numerous international crises and, believe it or not, 3 championships by the Detroit Lions.
Of course the last one of the three occurred when I was 6 so it’s not like I have fond memories of those pre Super Bowl crowns.
As for the wisdom acquired during this time?
Yeah, not so much.
Age has helped reduce the number of unwise actions on my part, but it has in no way eliminated them. I still find myself astounded by the amount of things I don’t know. And acquiring new knowledge occurs only if the subject holds a strong interest since my forever wandering mind seems to clash with anything perceived as even a tad tedious.
Age seems to have provided the simplicity of saying, “Yeah, I don’t want to do that.” with only a modicum of guilt.
I once seemed to require little sleep. LSC Lil used to say my philosophy was to never go to bed on the same day I woke up.
Truth. I was a night owl often extending awake time far past the witching hour, a condition that has certainly gone by the wayside. Sleep has evolved from an annoying break in my waking day to treasured hours of welcome slumber. Not only does 10 pm represent the far outpost of time when it comes to retiring for the night but savoring the occasional nap, a previous rarity occurring about as often as a total eclipse or a Lion playoff game, has become a desirable diversion.
When it comes to television I find myself less preoccupied with the news and more attentive to the weather. I attribute this to recognition that meteorological events are far more important to me than anything currently cruising the salty seas of the 24/7 news cycle. I find no interest in who said what in the perpetual culture wars, just give me the 3 day forecast and precipitation possibilities.
As for other TV, where I once had a proclivity for any and all sports, there has been a shift to more selectivity in this area. The games need to be of stronger interest to me and the days when a post midnight battle between a pair of Australian Rules Football teams drew my attention enough to forgo sleep are long gone.
The Great British Baking Show, however, has become a favorite weekend watch and seems to project a more intriguing competition and far more drama than most sporting events.
My current role as sous chef and clean up crew in the home kitchen is more than satisfying and the chef I chop for spins some seriously righteous culinary creations. Lil’s transition from chewing to eschewing meat has resulted in fewer carnivorean pursuits at the home table and I’m totally ok with that.
Well, not totally.
Bacon. Gotta have bacon.
These days I hold more value for the time spent with my family and friends, my exercise regimen has long ago moved from softball and basketball to less strenuous activities, my musical tastes have expanded only minutely, dark chocolate remains a staple, my clothing tastes have likely not improved and haircuts continue to be somewhere around a quarterly event with a bit less to trim each trip.
Some things have changed and some haven’t.
But two things have remained constant.
My enduring love for the exceptionally patient woman who has been my partner for 48 of the 70 years.
And the ongoing mystery of those orphaned shoes found individually placed along the roadways of America.
A perpetual puzzle forcing one to ask the eternal question…
What does it mean?
“Take kindly the counsel of the years, graceful surrendering the things of youth.”- Desiderata
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