The big day that comes once a year has come and gone for yours truly. As the years fly by and I watch my children grow, I begin to realize where I previouslywanted to rush through the years to reach milestones, now I wish time would slow down.
I couldn’t wait to turn thirteen so I could be an official teenager. What that even means I’m still not sure of. Who wants a squeaky awkward changing voice, hair beginning to grow in places other than your head, and greasy skin causing what amounts to chicken pox?
Surely fifteen would be the next great milestone. I can officially drive legally. A licensed adult is supposed to be present during these trips resembling roller coaster rides. You know the one when the ride goes from stationary to sixty miles per hour in a few seconds and back tostationary in the next few seconds. In between the times of the vehicle being stopped one would think they caught what they call whip lash from the constant jerking back and forth around sharp curves at a high rate of speed.
If I could only get to the “Sweet 16” mark, certainly all my dreams would come true. I would have true freedom on the open roads. Little did I know, I would end up spending lunch money to get gas in order to make it to school a few times because I spent the gas money my parents gave me on other things and that whole freedom thing was non-existent. My mom was a private investigator before being a PI was cool. She taught me lessons while keeping up with my every move that I will utilize in making sure my children are where they are supposed to be.
Finally! Adulthood, which meant graduation from high school. A new start with new friends. But also new stresses. Balancing work with college and of course in all of my spare time socialization with other like-minded young adults. Ramen noodles and frozen pizzas represent every category on the Food Guide Pyramid.
Fast forward several years and I’ve just celebrated mysixth or seventh 29th birthday. Who’s counting. I’ve heard that a part of aging is the loss of memory. I choose to forget how many candles should be carefully placed on the sheet cake from the local bakery. If they actually knew how old I was the cake would be the size of a medium sized suitcase used for carry-on luggage when boarding a flight.
What I have gained over the years is knowledge from experience. Certainly, every young teenage male anxiously awaited the gift of items like fast cars, jacked up trucks, the newest technology (in my time that would have included a new pager), an after market compact disc radio to replace the cassette player included with the vehicles of the time, or even a baseball hat with a fish hook attached to the bill. Call it maturity or knowledge but the hopes of the current version of birthday presents would look something like a surprise appearance from the auto glass repair man to change out the windshield of my vehicle, a little cash to help pay the mortgage or take the family out to a nice dinner, or even time spent uninterrupted in the recliner to catch up on the latest sports news.
As a coach, we often times offer former players an opportunity to revisit the campus to discuss experiences of the past or present with current players. Ten out of ten of these conversations end up with comments mentioned such as “if I could come back for one more game,” “if I would have known what I know now back then,” or “don’t take for granted any of the time you have left.”
We could learn a valuable lesson from these wise words. Spend more time concentrating on the journey instead of wishing our life away because one day you will look back and think was it that long ago that I got excited when reaching a new high score in the game of “snake” on my Nokia.