COLUMN: Stay young at heart and stay young

Having a little fun keeping the kid inside alive helps keeps the old guy outside ticking.

There’s a song that tells the story of small boy crying on the side of a road and an old man passing asks him what’s the matter.

“I can’t do what the big boys do,” said the child, and the old man sits down and he cries too.

I was reminded of the song last week while sitting in the Costco parking lot, waiting for a break in the action of the Stanley Cup final on the radio.

During that short period of time, two older gentlemen (let’s just say older than myself) went coasting by the front of my truck, riding the grocery cart down the sloping parking lot.

One was by himself and had a great big grin on his face. The other appeared equally pleased with himself, but had, I assume, his wife following behind shaking her head.

I could almost hear her telling him to “act his age” has he picked up speed, then at the last second jumped off, dragging his feet to prevent a collision with his car’s fender.

It brought a smile to my face thinking how those boys were refusing to let the onslaught of old age prevent them from having a little fun.

Now, I’m sure the little boy and old man in the song were not referring to grocery cart sledding when complaining of not being able to keep up with the big boys.

Kids of any age can hop a cart and go for a spin. The only difference might be instead of a wife, it’s a mother telling them to stop.

No, the little boy and old man likely have an extensive list of what the big boys can do and what little boys can’t yet do, and what old men can no longer do.

It could be everything from throwing a football 60 yards or running the bases without getting out of breath, to having the prettiest girls swooning over you.

The big boys can party all night and still be up early to get in their morning run. They can help a family member move all day and never stagger under the weight of a stove or freezer.

The saving grace is the little boy has all of that to look forward to, and the old man has his memories of all he has done.

I’ve ridden my share of grocery carts in parking lots and had some success during a flag football game against the ‘big boys’ (although everything pretty much hurt the next day).

It’s all relative. There is something to be said about every age, yet we can’t wait to reach the next stage.

Children can’t wait to become teens, teens can’t wait to become adults and adults can’t wait to retire.

Plus, we’re all guilty of looking back and saying “if only”.

“If only I’d studied harder. If only I’d practised more. If only I had started saving sooner. If I could go back, oh, how life would be different.”

I have a couple of ‘if onlys’ I’d like to redo myself. But  you can’t go back, and life worked out pretty well, so I should make the most of the what I have.

So if you’re out shopping one day and see me zooming by on a cart, join me. Having a little fun keeping the kid inside alive helps keeps the old guy outside ticking.

***

My heart goes out to Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue members on the death of two colleagues during a training exercise Sunday on the Skookumchuck Narrows near Egmont, B.C., on the Sunshine Coast.

My wife and I had a chance to see the rapids during a cycling trip of the coast last summer, and it was both awesome and terrifying at the same time.

The amount of water that runs through the narrows on high tide is mind-boggling.

These search and rescue volunteers lost their lives training to help others who might be in distress.

If nothing else, the tragedy should send a message to the federal government on the real dangers of living on the West Coast and cutting back on marine rescue stations will only put others at risk.

news@nanaimobulletin.com

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