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I was sitting here this morning, while hubby took “Kodi” for a walk (because the sky looked like it was going to open up and simply soak us) thinking to myself, if there was one thing that I have learned or come to understand, as a result of becoming disabled, that I could share with the younger generation, what would it be? What ‘words of wisdom’ could I impart upon them so that I could feel as if something good came from this experience?

Do you know what came to mind?

Don’t take for granted your youth, your ability to be active.

Lately, perhaps because I’ve not been feeling particularly well and I’m facing all these new health concerns, I’ve been reminiscing a lot, pulling up memories from my youth that are positive, something a little harder to do than remembering the bad stuff… I wish it weren’t true that the bad sticks with you longer and is easier to remember.

I’ve been thinking about the days when we spent the entire day, from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. outside, playing in the yard or with our friends, riding our bicycles or roller skating. I’ve been thinking about the days when I worked on a local farm detasseling corn, outside all day, in the fresh air and sunshine, walking or riding through the fields of corn. There was so much time to think, time to plan, dream about the future.

I had some good friends that I loved to spend time with, even if doing nothing other than going for walks, sitting on the porch talking or listening to music. We used to get together and play guitar, sing, walk to the local Elementary school and sit on the swings to talk. We had a lot of fun.

I used to love laying on the glider on the front porch, looking up into the tree that overhung our home, watching the sunshine play in the leaves, listening to the birds or taking a walk in Autumn when every block had at least one pile of burning leaves and the screams and laughter of little kids filled the air. I looked forward to going ice skating among the trees or going for walks in the snow.

I enjoyed mowing the lawn, the smell of fresh cut grass, or shoveling the sidewalks and feeling the cold bite of the powdery snow blowing back in my face as I tossed shovels full into the yard.

I greatly enjoyed spending time with my Grandfather, doing things outside with him, listening to his stories.

All too quickly, these things slip away, people die, friends move away, responsibility visits us and time takes much from us as we age.  Time leaves us with only memories of these activities, memories that can be treasures, but just as equally torturous.

I would say, to any able-bodied young person, get up off the couch, put down the remote control, the game controller, get off your cell phone and enjoy all the beautiful things life has to offer to you because before you know it, you could be deprived of the opportunity to experience so many wonderful things and the responsibility of adulthood will replace the time you have now for leisure activities and freedom from responsibility with work and family and priorities.

One day, like me, before you know it, when you still feel far too young to be reminiscing, you’ll catch yourself thinking back about a time gone by and wishing you had taken more time to enjoy life then, that you’d held on to things that you let slip away from you. You’ll realize that there are things lost to you, that you can never experience again.

There are things that I once thought of as chores, that I now, would give anything to be able to do again. There are traditions that we used to enjoy and look forward to that don’t exist any longer, things have changed, not only me personally and my physical abilities, but society in general.

I’m sorry if this blog seems a bit morose. While trying to acknowledge and appreciate the abilities I currently/still have, I found it impossible to not be aware of all that’s been lost. I just thought I’d share those thoughts here, rather than keeping them pent up inside. I wish young people could know how quickly life can change and how quickly the things we take for granted can be taken from us.

I think maybe this is just a ramble, but it’s what was in my head tonight.

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