Things like my footprint in a baby album, the first word I spoke, the first tooth I lost, the Plaster-of-Paris art piece of my hand and the paddle I made in woodshop (that my mother used on me occasionally). Embarrassing pictures of me in beachcombers or a Hop-Along Cassidy cowboy outfit. Things that didn't mean much to me at the time, but things that I am so glad to have kept to look back on.
Now, the winter and the final chapter and pages of my life are closer than the spring, summer and autumn chapters and it catches me by surprise. How did I get here so quickly? Where did the years go and where did my youth go? I remember seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me and that winter was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like.
But, here it is...my friends are retired and getting gray...they move slower and I see an older person now. Some are in better and some are in worse shape than me, but, I see the great change. They aren't the ones that I remember who were young and vibrant but, like me, their age is beginning to show and all of us are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we'd be. Each day, I find that many things I used to do with ease are a real challenge! And taking a nap is not a treat anymore... it's mandatory! If I don't on my own free will... I will just fall asleep where I sit!
As I enter into winter and the final chapters of my life, I find myself reflecting back on things I used to do and things that I wish I had done but never did! I think of my successes and my failures. I think of loves and heartaches; happy moments and tragic ones; laughter and tears; friends that have remained friends and old friends that have become forgotten friends.
I think of times I wish I had pictures of, but none were taken. Reluctantly, there are no pictures of me leading the Garfield Band onto the football field for a halftime show. No pictures of me in the Pep Band at a basketball game. No pictures of me in any of the many parades down Wabash Avenue. No pictures of friends and me at the beach on a hot summer day, or cruising the Bash, or riding our bicycles through the streets of Spelterville, or hanging out at the Sugar Shack, Hamburger Handout or just being together somewhere doing nothing except being together.
Yes, I have regrets. There are things I wish I hadn't done...things I should have done, things I wish I had said and things I wish I hadn't said, but indeed, there are many things I'm happy to have done. It's all in a lifetime.
This is my final Memory post, unless one pops into my head. I'm sure I will still have some opinions though. The memories are becoming harder to remember and the writing is becoming harder to do.
So, I leave you with some advice. Your winter and the final pages of your life will be here faster than you think. Live for today and say all the things that you want your loved ones and friends to remember...and hope that they appreciate and love you for all the things that you have done for them in all the years past! Use that cell phone with the built in camera to document the times and events of your life. Keep a diary or journal.
Your life and events may not mean much to you now, but the day will come when you reach the winter and final chapters of your life that you will wish you had and your children and grandchildren will be glad you did.
"Life" is a gift to you. The way you live your life and document it is your gift to those who come after. Make it a fantastic and memorable one.
Reprinted by permission by Memories and Opinions