Reviewing life’s lessons

July 1, 2019
By Dale Kovar

A social media poll recently posed the question: would you rather have a youthful body or the wisdom that comes from age and experience?

For me, this one isn’t too hard to answer.

Although I’d love to be able to hit and pitch a baseball well again, and do away with the seemingly daily aches and pains (and prescriptions), there is a lot of value from the experience of life.

It can be regarding anything, like driving in the cities – knowing where certain places are, where major roads go, and just understanding traffic in general.

Or it can be the comfort of knowing what’s really important in life, and equally so, what’s not worth getting upset about.

There are the standard things everyone learns, like “Don’t touch a hot stove.”

Some lessons, like getting your private parts caught in a zipper, only take once. Others need to be repeated multiple times to sink in.

We draw on our experience to avoid pain, find our way around, or simply do things in easier or more enjoyable ways. We even learn to temper our reactions to many things.

If I was able to make a list of everything I’ve learned in six decades plus, hopefully it would be longer than we have space for here. But instead of trying to be comprehensive, here are just a few of the miscellaneous things that I’ve learned:

• One of my uncles taught me about cross-reference filing in both personal and business use. Simply, you leave notes in specific places where you might look for something with directions to where it actually is.

• I save myself time and aggravation by buying several pairs of white socks that are exactly the same and several pairs of black socks that are exactly the same. Then there’s no need to try to match specific pairs, and if the washer or dryer eats one of them, it doesn’t matter.

• In the heat of the moment after a youth baseball game that my son’s team lost in an intense extra-inning battle, another parent remarked: “It’s important now, but it’s not important.” Turns out he was right. More than a dozen years later, I don’t remember the score or even the opponent, but I do recall that the heartbreak of a lost game passed with time while the memory of having been involved is still pleasurable.

• A basic understanding of financial aspects like insurance and deductibles, taxes, and financing and interest helps one make hopefully good decisions.

• Gather everything you need for the next day the night before. It’s so much less stress than running into a problem when you’re trying to leave in the morning.

• Some of my wife’s best advice for me has been “Don’t believe everything you think.”

One more perspective

When I go out for a run, there’s something special about reaching the halfway point. Even two steps beyond halfway means there is a shorter distance left to go than what has already been done.

In life, mathematically it seems safe to assume I’m past halfway.

I can’t see the finish line – it may be just around the next curve, or there may be a full marathon to go yet.

I’m clearly on the descending side of “over the hill” but there’s a lot to look forward to.

There are numerous times in the last few years I have complained about days going so slow and long. Lately I realized: “if you think the days are long now, wait until you see eternity.”

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