Age, legendary baseball player Satchel Paige once said, is simply a case of mind over matter.
“If I don’t mind,” he said. “It don’t matter.”
H.L. Mencken, the role model for most journalists — including myself — put it another way.
“If I had known I was going to live this long,” he observed. “I’d have taken better care of myself.” (The same quote is often attributed to George Burns and sometimes to Mickey Mantle.)
Thinking a lot about age. I turn 62 today and officially become — in the eyes of some — a senior citizen.
On some days, I feel old. Pain from arthritic joints, compounded by calcium buildup brought on by old injuries, becomes part of daily life. But I’ve learned — for the most part — to live with pain and move on. A sadistic Navy chief once got his jollies by yelling in my ear: “Suck it up lady! Pain is only the beginning.”
I’m an adrenaline junkie and living on adrenaline is better than any high produced by drugs. Somebody once told me that “if you ain’t living on the edge, you’re taking up too much room.”
So I’ve jumped out of perfectly good airplanes, dodged bullets and lived life to the fullest extent possible. I walk around on bad knees, a bum hip and ankles held together with pins, screws and probably some baling wire because of past adventures and misadventures.
And I’d do it the same way again if given a chance. I may be 62 but I’m not dead and, for the coming year, I’m planning several long trips on my Harley.
F.M. Carroll wrote: “God will not look you over for medals, degrees, or diplomas, but for scars.”
An interviewer once asked Charles Lindbergh why he took so many chances in a plane. Lindbergh replied:
Any coward can sit in his home and criticize a pilot for flying into a mountain in fog.
But I would rather, by far, die on a mountainside than in bed.
What kind of a man would live where there is no daring?
And is life so dear that we should blame men for dying in adventure?
Is there a better way to die?
Or this from the late, great Ray Charles: “Live every day as if it were your last. One of these days, it will be.”
Every time I think about slowing down I think again and realize that most people I’ve known who slowed down died not long afterward.
Some of us aren’t wired to live life slow…or safe..or secure.
I’ll let others slow down. They can play it safe.
I’m having to much fun to do either.
Growing old is inevitable.
Growing up is optional.
4 thoughts on “Life is too short to play it safe”
I saw a great quote on a plaque at Target last night (I think James Dean said it). ‘Plan as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die tomorrow’
Go for it! Happy Birthday!!
Forgot to add my favorite quote – from Art Buchwald — “The big question we still have to ask is not where we’re going, but what were we doing here in the first place?”
Excellent article and wonderful attitude one I live by myself.
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