Aging Has Its Rewards

I’m not sure when it happened, how it happened or why it happened. I’m just glad it happened. Maybe it’s being 52 years old. Maybe it’s losing a bunch of weight and getting fitter. Maybe it’s having a “somewhat” empty nest. Maybe it’s going through breast cancer with Lynn. It could be all or none of those things. I’m not sure I’ll ever figure it out or if that’s even important. I just know I’m happier now than I’ve ever been.

I realized this yesterday when I was trying to chase down my friend on a road bike. Six months ago if you had told me that I would be on a skinny-wheeled road bike on a group ride from Glen Allen to Ashland and that I would be chasing down my good friend Steven who was in turn trying to keep up with a 70 year old guy (that’s right I said 70), I would have told you that you were stark raving mad. You see when you’re well over 300 pounds you don’t have this type of thing on your To-Do List.  Yet here I was 6 months later, 75 pounds lighter, riding 24 miles an hour and tears were streaming down my face. Tearing up because I was happy. Happy to be fit, happy to have a healthy wife who loves me, happy to have a few close friends, happy to have such kind, gentle kids, happy to have an amazing brother, fantastic work colleagues/friends and just happy to have made it to 52.

Age will do that to you, I think. It gives you that unique filter that nothing else can.

Going through breast cancer with an amazingly strong and beautiful wife will do that to you, too. Sitting in the oncologist office room the day before brought all that home. Seven years ago we didn’t know if we would be alive. Yet here we both are. All summer long, hiking in horribly hot weather, biking with amazing groups of people, geocaching and just plain having a ball.

So that’s why I guess I was busting a gut, burning my legs up and crying at the same time yesterday on the bike. It just all came out. I’ll never win any bike races, hike up the Matterhorn or have 10,000 geocache finds. What I will have is an awesome wife, great health and amazing friends. I think that’s enough.  Actually, I think that it’s more than enough.

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4 Responses to Aging Has Its Rewards

  1. Steven Kaminski says:

    Can I say how proud I am of you?

    I bet you thought I was building you up these past few weeks so you’d go on just one more bike ride with me. It wasn’t a build-up… it was the truth. You are “de Diesel” because as I look back over my shoulder, there you are, cranking away.

    Weeks ago, after perhaps too much prompting and months of conversation, you’ve found yourself on a bike that keeps getting better by the week – don’t you like how Conte’s keeps upgrading your ride.

    And now we’ve pedaled in the mornings as the sun rose and the moon slowly set. There have of course been flat tires, deraileurs that aren’t quite set up right, and spokes that break from severe torque. Setbacks, like in life. Some annoy and are easily fixed. Others wear on us. Some are serious enough to warrant immediate attention. Most are a memory already, like in life.

    Yesterday we tried to hang with people 50+ pounds lighter than us and with a lot more miles in their legs. And we did! Yes the fella we were chasing was 70 but as he shared with us later, he also spent 10 grand on his bike – something neither of our wives would put up with. And as you mentioned, we were happy doing it. To others it sounds painful (it was) but overcoming that hill, a metaphor for the challenges we face in each of our lives, is therauputic in my opinion.

    So while you revel in your well earned happiness. I’ll share that you’ve inspired me to be healthier in both body and mind. You’ve modeled how to be an inspiration to children in the classroom — treating them both with candor and love. And I’m lucky to call you my friend.

    Not a lovefest, just the simple…plain…truth.

    • willbagby says:

      Wow!!! I don’t know what to say. I do remember the story of the great American football player and decathlete, Jim Thorpe. When upon winning the Olympic decathlon he was introduced to the King of Sweden (site of the Olympics then) who said, “Mr. Thorpe, you are without doubt the world’s greatest athlete. Jim Thorpe’s reply? “Thanks, King.”

      So to you my friend I say, “Thanks, Steven.”

  2. martinsj2 says:

    Awesome post. Congratulations from this 46-year old who “restarted” cycling the same time as you!

    • willbagby says:

      Thanks, Steve!! Have REALLY enjoyed reading your blog. Your successes and travails are almost eerily like mine. I will be looking forward to further posts.

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