YOUR VIEW: The Golden Years, Each Day is a Blessing…Treat it as Such
By Space Coast Daily // September 19, 2023
A wise man once said, 'Love what you have, before life teaches you to Love what you lost.'
I will soon be 76 years of age…. never thought much about being 76 “when I wore a younger man’s clothes” as Billy Joel sang so eloquently many years ago.
Now my Modus Operandi is to stay healthy and there is elation because I can now hit from the “Red Tees!” In golfer parlance that means I’ll be really old. Since I am no longer burdened with making a living I can devote my attention to golf, the gym, and more golf.
Thank goodness for golf and an understanding wife because it seems as if I am receiving too much bad news at this stage of my life. I am losing family, gym buddies, golf buddies, friends, acquaintances, and childhood sports heroes to sickness and death. Some have not lived long enough to hit from the Red Tees.
I remember Mom saying that one of the hardest aspects of aging was losing her friends. She lost her brother and sister as well as her parents. Her father died when she was just 18 years old.
Dad lost six brothers, sisters and his mother. His father died when he was just 4 years old. Mom and Dad were remarkably stoic in everything they dealt with.
As a child, I don’t recall ever seeing them bothered by too much of anything. Of course, they would become angry with me and my siblings from time to time but kept their emotions in check, for the most part.
They were human and 1960s parents. In that era “Children were to be seen, but not heard.” However, most of my memories are of the good times.
Mom and Dad were members of the exceptionally “Tough” and “Resilient” Depression, World War II generation. Many have called it the Greatest Generation. I cannot disagree with that.
This generation instilled that “Toughness” in us as children. We didn’t get “Participation” trophies. Give me a break! If you were not as good as the next kid, you rode the bench and learned to work harder and to appreciate winning.
I played golf with a friend recently who has endured a heart attack, open heart surgery, suffered a stroke that came close to killing him then inexplicably, while in the hospital recovering suddenly lost vision in one eye. He is also hearing impaired and walks with the aid of a cane.
Before Joe’s stroke he was an exceptional golfer. Now he struggles.
During a recent round whenever, I hit a bad shot I became angry at myself. When Joe hit bad shots, he would give himself a mild rebuke. His overall demeanor was that he felt lucky to be playing.
I have many stories from observing my peers handle adversity but this one stands out and is helping me to learn what is perhaps one of life’s more important messages, and it is Free for the taking.
If I wished to be blunt and humorous, I could say: “Once you hit 60, all bets are off.” Stated more succinctly: Each day is a blessing… Treat it as such. If you can get out of bed in the morning, see, hear, feel, speak, and walk to the coffee pot you are Blessed!
A friend made a good suggestion after reading this. He said, “Jerry, if I can walk into the bathroom and remember why I’m there I feel Blessed!”
I am sincerely grateful that our health is still good enough for Debra and me to do the things we want to do, and to live where we want to live. I believe for most of us Seniors there is much more to be thankful for than to feel regret about.
A wise man once said, “Love what you have, before life teaches you to Love what you lost.”
Debra understood that message long ago. I am a “work in progress.” Thanks to her, and her evolving husband, our home is a happy one, even though we are still changing diapers…Kayleigh’s…our dog!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jerry O’Meara is originally from Ohio, and has a background in hotel management, real estate, and was a firefighter. He was educated at the University of Dayton, married a Florida girl and has been living on Merritt Island since 2012.