Breaking two decades-old vows

When I was an intellectual teenager who knew that I knew everything there was to know, a significant number of venerable individuals, albeit armed with good intentions, kept bombarding me with unneeded “help” in the form of unwanted and often long-winded advice about life.

Thankfully I had the good sense back then to not rub my omniscience in the faces of all those old fossils who kept sharing their “knowledge” with me. Then as now, most people resented youthful, arrogant know-it-alls, even benevolent ones like me who were reasonably tolerant of the ignorant adults surrounding them.

But the constant pestering of those platitude-spouting windbags was why I promised myself two important things.

One was to avoid becoming one of those tiresome old duffers who’d prattle on about the importance of treasuring every day, because time passes so quickly, blah blah blah. The other was to NEVER become one of those ancient, self- important blowhards who drones on endlessly about his aches, pains, and latest health issues.

And I’m happy to report that I have kept those vows faithfully.

Until a week ago, when the youngest of my three children graduated from high school.

The day my son and his 148 impossibly youthful classmates paraded past their proud families to receive their diplomas was perfect for an outdoor graduation. Wispy white clouds dotted a clear blue sky, and a gentle, refreshing breeze kept potentially irritating flying insects at bay. Periodic cloud cover obscured the sun just enough to keep the temperature from becoming oppressive. And those conditions weren’t just perfect for a graduation; they were also ideal for becoming lost in thought, which was why I quickly and involuntarily became engrossed in a jumble of beautiful daydreams.

I relived a day not all that long ago when our oldest was grabbing hunks of his first birthday cake with his bare hands and then attempting, with occasional success, to put them into his mouth. Then my mind conjured the vision of my three children and I throwing a frisbee in the front yard, trying to catch 100 passes in a row without dropping one. Next I was seeing their amazingly creative, multi-colored chalk drawings on the driveway, beautiful but doomed to be washed away by the next rainstorm.

There they were, perpetually occupied with (depending on the season) kicking soccer balls with their friends, gliding down the nearest available hill on whatever object(s) could serve as a sled, or playing Foursquare with the kids across the street. I swear I actually heard their high-pitched squeals of delight as they uncovered one of the eggs a mischievous rabbit had secreted in various places around the yard, or inside the house when precipitation was in the Easter Sunday forecast. I found myself reliving trips to Connecticut to see their grandmother, or to Vermont to visit with cousins who were only slightly larger than they were. All those band concerts, sleepovers, and Little League baseball games seemed like they were just last week.

Suddenly my pleasant reverie was interrupted by the sounds of Pomp and Circumstance, and the sight of 149 maroon-gowned high school graduates marching by. Where did the time go?

Apparently those windy old geezers actually knew what they were talking about. Years, it turns out, elapse unimaginably quickly. That’s why every young person reading this should fully savor every moment of every day. Take it from me; time flies!

Now that I’ve violated one of my once-sacrosanct vows, I might as well go the whole hog. My lower back is killing me. And does anyone want to hear the latest from my cardiologist?

Andy Young
June 14, 2024

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