I received an email from a friend last week asking me if I regretted growing old. I provided a negative response but it got me to thinking.
Unlike my grandmother who grew up during the depression, I haven’t seen quite what she did. She and her husband went to Kitty Hawk to watch the Wright brothers fly the first airplane and she watched TV as man walked on the moon.
Me, I have had the opportunity to see the growth of TV from B/W to color and now HD, movies, computers, calculators, and all the wonderful (and costly) electronic wonders of today. The computer chip and its growth. From party lines to mobile phones to cellular phones. Our transition from 5″ disks to 3″ disks to flash drives and 300 Gb or larger hard drives. From propeller planes to jets to rockets.
I went to school when education was a privilege for many and it really meant something to graduate from school and it was even worse to know you had failed a subject and you worked harder to pass it the next time. I was brought up to say “Yes Sir” and “Yes Mam” to adults, to respect the law, to never disrespect anyone else, to run an honest business with regard for my customers, to add and subtract, to be able to make change without a cash register.
We stood and proudly saluted the flag and had morning prayer weekly in school. Our teachers were always right and to be sent to the principal’s office was a terror…almost as bad as what I got when I got home. Teachers didn’t try to convince us that the US was bad and homosexuality was OK. We kept guns in our cars and trucks during hunting season and parked on campus with them. I wore hunting clothes and a knife to class because I had been hunting that morning…and didn’t have to worry about the school being locked down and the police and SWAT team called out.
I have served in the USN and USMC and traveled the world. I wouldn’t give that up for anything. I have had a life full of amazing careers – more than the average person could hope for. I have been a salesman, police officer, Marine, writer, photographer, insurance salesman, finance collector, process server, private investigator, forensic examiner, and some things I have probably forgotten. I have skin dived, sky dived, flown airplanes, flown hang gliders, climbed mountains, explored caves, gone hunting/fishing and exploring. I have loved a number of beautiful women and been loved by as many more.
There have been times in my life when I wished things could have gone some other way – when my parents died, my first divorce, the loss of good friends, the loss of loving pets, business failures, and the loss of a couple sexy girl friends.
BUT, I would not change one day of my life and all of its adventures – good or bad. I have had the opportunity to live in this world, to see things I will always wonder about, to read great books, to do much of what I have always wanted to do – and do it my way. I have had many good friends and even a few very close friends. I have a happy marriage to a woman that treats me like a king, spoils me rotten and loves me even more.
I am sitting here typing on a modern laptop with a tiny Poodle sleeping peacefully in my lap, another in the chair beside me, another in his bed by my chair and the cat sleeping under the desk light as usual.
Sure I have to take a handful of pills every day and I have to watch my diet a little closer, can’t smoke the cigars I used to enjoy and it’s harder to get out of the bed each morning and even harder to haul firewood into the house…but I am alive and life is good.
Do I regret growing old? Not in the least. I have had a long and wonderful and fulfilling life and look forward to what the future will bring me, whatever it may be. I sit here, retired, yet doing just what I want to do and enjoy and I still get paid for it. What more could a man ask for? Beats the heck out of the alternative.