Animal Tracks: Milestones

I’m looking at two milestones this week. First of all, I’m celebrating another trip around the sun...which is just a poetic way of saying I’m looking at another birthday.

The interesting thing is that I don’t usually feel my age. I’m not sure any of us do, at least not deep down where it really counts.

Oh yeah, of course I can tell I’m not that young man I was back in the day. I can’t help but notice things. I move a lot slower. I can’t see as well as I used to. Late comes much earlier than it used to. I suppose I’ve gotten a bit more cynical and sarcastic.

The math isn’t all that complicated and I’m fully aware of exactly how many years I’ve been hanging out on this planet.

On the other hand, I don’t feel a lot of older or wiser. In truth, I really don’t feel that much different than I did when I was a green, still wet-behind-the-ears kid. I do have more experiences now than I did at 20 and yes, I can look back on those as a yardstick but I certainly don’t think that makes me any wiser.

Still, I’m still learning new stuff and having a pretty good time doing it so I’m not complaining. I’m still looking forward to quite a few more trips around the sun. Hopefully, at some point I will become wise...but I’m not holding my breath.

My other milestone this week is the fact that two years ago today, I officially retired. Part of it was my idea but an unexpected heart attack pretty much sealed the deal.

I admit it, I had mixed emotions about retiring. I looked forward to having more time to do the things I enjoyed doing but I also happened to be one of those strange folks who enjoyed my job. There are times when I still miss it. After so many years of keeping up with most of the local goings on, it felt downright lousy and pretty strange to find myself suddenly out of the loop.

Of course, just a couple of months after I retired, the pandemic hit and I was fairly glad to be retired. For one thing, that was a story I would not have enjoyed covering. Also, as a person with preexisting medical issues, I was on lock down almost from day one. I’m not sure how well that would have worked if I had to go out and cover events the way I always had.

One thing no one tells you about all that new “free time” you have on your hands is that it can be a huge bore. When you’re retired you don’t actually have to do anything at any particular time so as often as not, you don’t. It took awhile to get used to that and to learn to work around it.

After a period of adjustment, I learned how to enjoy retirement and to get some use out of all that spare time.

Even if we don’t always understand why things work out as they do, there’s usually some reason for it. The trick is to learn to handle all of it and keep looking for the good in our situation.

And that might be as close to wisdom as I’ll ever get.