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If you drop something, set it free
Feb. 8, 2019
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by Ivan Raconteur

I read one of those humorous posts on social media recently that observed how things change as we get older.

The post suggested that when we are young, if we drop something we simply pick it up without a second thought.

When we are older, however, we might stare at the item for a while as we assess whether we still need it.

As much as I hate to admit it, I can relate to that observation.

I realize this doesn’t happen to everyone. Some people take care of their bodies and maintain their fitness and flexibility until they are quite venerable.

Others of us, however, are not so fortunately situated. The ravages of time, fast living, and too many hours sitting in front of a computer have taken their toll.

For those of us in this group, the simple act of picking something up off the ground is a matter not to be rushed into lightly.

I recall as a child, the excitement of picking up a stray penny off the pavement.

Not only were found pennies considered lucky, but they had more perceived value back then.

As time went on, I didn’t always pick up pennies, but I might pause to pick up a nickel.

Later, the minimum increased to a dime or a quarter.

Now, I don’t care if pennies are lucky. Unless the reward is a dollar or more, it’s not worth the effort it would take for me to pick it up.

The same principle applies for other random objects I might drop.

As the social media post reference above suggested, if I drop something today, I might stop and consider whether I still need the item before bending to pick it up. If it turns out I don’t need it, there’s no point in taking the trouble to retrieve it.

With some items, I’m willing to roll the dice. I might leave the item where it fell for a bit on the off chance some young person might come along and pick it up.

I wouldn’t want to admit it, but it’s just possible I may have pretended to be too busy to pick an item up in the past, or acted like I didn’t notice an item had fallen so that a younger, more flexible person might pick it up for me.

That’s the kind of trick one learns as one gets older.

At my time of life, I have adopted a policy for dropped items that is based on that old adage, “If you love someone, set them free. If they come back, you belong together. If they don’t come back, you weren’t meant to be together in the first place.”

For my purposes, the philosophy is, “If you drop something, set it free. If it comes back, it’s yours. If it doesn’t, it was never yours to begin with.”

That kind of thinking allows me to elevate bone idleness to a higher plane.

What I should do, of course, is to get busy and get myself into better condition.

I know that’s what I should do, but it isn’t easy.

I tried to make a start at it recently, but by the time I changed clothes and got my athletic shoes laced up, I was winded and had to sit down for awhile to catch my breath.

I suppose it is possible there may be perks to getting older, but sometimes it’s hard to see what they are.


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