Today I had to drive 90 miles to Stanford Hospital to get some blood work tests done for my visit with the oncology doctor next Wednesday. I called to verify that the lab would be open on Saturday and was assured that it would be. When I got to the hospital it was drizzling rain and I was dismayed to see that the valet parking I am used to does not operate on weekends. I had to drive a few blocks away to the underground garage and then hoof it back to the hospital. Not expecting rain, I wasn’t dressed for it and arrived at the hospital a bit damp. I headed for where I normally go to get my blood drawn but doors were closed and lights were out. I made my way to the information/reception desk and asked three very helpful young ladies where the lab was that was open on weekends. They pointed to the opposite side of the hospital and said if I would wait just a minute they would have someone push me over there in a wheelchair.
Well, I was a little waterlogged and I do have a little limp from the blood clot in my left leg, but Oh-My-God! When did I turn into someone that looks like they need to be in a wheelchair?
I was a bit taken aback, but managed a, “No thanks! I just look like I need a wheelchair.” And off I went to the other side of the hospital. I stopped in a restroom on the way just to look in the mirror to check out the train wreck I supposedly looked like. I guess, luckily for me, this particular restroom didn’t have a mirror. Out for repair, I guess.
So, surprisingly to everyone except me, I managed to get to the lab and back out past the information desk without anyone having to call 911. I even made it back to my car and drove 90 miles back home. On the way I started thinking about how aging really sneaks up on us, at least on me. When my being looks out from my eyes, I feel the same way I did at 25 and 35 and 45. I’m 66 now. The inner me hasn’t changed. Why am I just now being reminded so often that the outer me has changed a LOT!
Can we help you to your car, SIR? Here, let me hold that door for you, SIR? Let me lift that for you, SIR? And today, Can we get you a wheelchair, SIR? I think SIR stands for seriously incapable reject.
I remember all of my years, but now each year seems to go by so much faster. When I was 4, a year was 25% of my entire life. When I was 10, that got cut to 10%. Now that I am 66, a year is only something like 1.5% of my life. We are already almost a quarter way through this year and I am just getting used to it being 2016.
I guess that up until now I have been too busy to notice the rapid passage of time. A number of years ago a friend sent this to me. I break it out and read it every year or so and think now is a good time to share it with you.
“The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings. Perhaps it’s the quiet
solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or maybe it’s the unbounded
joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday
morning are most enjoyable.
“A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the basement shack with a steaming
cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as
a typical Saturday morning, turned into one of those lessons that life seems to
hand you from time to time. Let me tell you about it. I turned the dial up into
the phone portion of the band on my ham radio in order to listen to a Saturday
morning conversation. Along the way, I came across an older sounding chap,
with a tremendous signal and a golden voice. You know the kind, he sounded
like he should be in the broadcasting business. He was telling whoever he was
talking with something about “a thousand marbles.”
“I was intrigued and stopped to listen to what he had to say. “Well, Tom, it sure
sounds like you’re busy with your job. I’m sure they pay you well, but it’s a shame
you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow
should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. Too
bad you missed your daughter’s dance recital.” He continued, “Let me tell you something,
Tom, something that has helped me keep a good perspective on my own priorities.”
And that’s when he began to explain his theory of a “thousand marbles.”
“You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person
lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less,
but on average, folks live about seventy-five years. “Now then, I multiplied
75 times 52 and I came up with 3900 which is the number of Saturdays that the
average person has in their entire lifetime. Now stick with me Tom, I’m getting
to the important part. It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all
this in any detail”, he went on, “and by that time I had lived through over
twenty-eight hundred Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five,
I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy. “So I went to a toy store and
bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to
round-up 1000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside of a large, clear
plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear. Every Saturday since then,
I have taken one marble out and thrown it away. “I found that by watching the
marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life. There is
nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your
priorities straight. “Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign-off with you
and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble
out of the container. I figure if I make it until next Saturday then I have been given
a little extra time. And the one thing we can all use is a little more time.” “It was nice
to meet you Tom, I hope you spend more time with your family, and I hope to meet
you again here on the band. 73 Old Man, this is K9NZQ, clear and going QRT,
good morning!” You could have heard a pin drop on the band when this fellow
signed off. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to work on the
antenna that morning, and then I was going to meet up with a few hams to work
on the next club newsletter. Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss.
“C’mon honey, I’m taking you and the kids to breakfast.” “What brought this on?” she asked
with a smile. “Oh, nothing special, it’s just been a long time since we spent a Saturday
together with the kids. Hey, can we stop at a toy store while we’re out?
I need to buy some marbles.”
And yes, I guess I can see the difference between 30 and 66, but I don’t feel the difference.
I’m glad I haven’t lost all of my marbles quite yet, and really do have a wonderful life.