Yesterday and Tomorrow

Friday, December 29, 2017
by Patrick Dorinson

In a few days the calendar will turn from the tired old year of 2017 and into the brand spanking New Year of 2018.

Traditionally this event has been depicted as old Father Time carrying an hour glass with the sand running out wearing a sash with the old year imprinted on it. He is accompanied by a bright eyed new baby in diapers wearing a sash with the new year emblazoned on it.

The old year gives way to the new.

And in 365 days that new baby will age rapidly and by this time next year he will be the old man with the hour glass with the sand running out.

Many will be making New Year’s resolutions that will last about as long as the month of January.

But a new year is a chance for new beginnings.

It gives us all a clean slate if we choose to take advantage of the opportunity it affords.

Or we can choose to carry over all the bad baggage from last year letting it burden us to the point where we don’t progress as individuals in our very personal journey of life.

Because in the final analysis that is what life is all about--making choices.

Like Father Time, the sand in my own hour glass is getting smaller as it runs into the bottom, and I have been thinking a lot recently about my life both the good and the bad as well as the choices I have made that brought me to this point.

Two events this last year began this process of self-evaluation.

The first event as when I turned 65 last August and I began receiving Medicare.

And the great thing about Medicare is that it got me off Obamacare.

Like turning 16 or18 or 21, 65 is a milestone and in many ways it is the last one.

But I don’t feel old at all and I certainly don’t intend to sit around in an easy chair watching television.

I prefer to be in a saddle on the back of a horse and as long as the Good Lord allows me to do it that is where I will try to spend as much time as I can.

Besides thanks to two wonderful horsewomen I am now learning how to rope, cut and drive a team of draft horses and you can’t do that from a Barcalounger!

And I am not retired. I figure it took me a long time to gain all of the knowledge I have and I am going to use it. I might slow down a bit and travel in the coming years but quit working? Never.

I enjoy what I do and working with talented and skilled younger folks keeps me young.

The second event that set me on my current path of personal discovery was death of my father at age 99.

Dad wasn’t sick and in fact he had just returned from a vacation to France.

He was still as sharp as a tack and had renewed his medical license just a few years ago because he was still using his expertise on disability cases for the Social Security Administration.

At his death he had held a medical license in California for 71 years and he never officially retired.

My mother who preceded him in death in 2005 once told me she didn’t want him to retire because then like other old men, he would want to go to the grocery store with her and put things in her cart that she didn’t need or want and she would have none of that.

He exercised regularly and he always told me to keep my mind active as well as my body.

We talked regularly by phone but he passed so suddenly from a massive stroke I didn’t get to have that last phone call with him.

I wish I had.

As I have absorbed these two events I am now in the process of evaluating my life realizing that I don’t have his wise counsel to guide me.

Like he always told me, some things you just have to do yourself.

At first I looked at all the missed opportunities and the “woulda, shoulda, coulda” moments. I got down on myself and thought that I had been failure in many ways.

But then I remembered that my Dad once told me that he didn’t feel like he “hit his stride” until he was in his early 60s.

By that measure I am just getting started and remembering what he said has given me a new burst of energy and zest for life.

And I have pledged that I am going to wring everything out of this life that is humanly possible before I am done.

I am not going to write a bucket list I am just going to do it.

I now wake up every day excited about life’s possibilities and many challenges with eagerness and wonder at God’s creation.

And I thank him for letting me see another beautiful sunrise as I take my 5 AM three mile walk that begins my day.

So here is your Cowboy Wisdom for the Week and it comes from American icon John Wayne.

“There’s a lot of great things about life. But I think tomorrow is the most important thing. Comes in to us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday”.

As the saying goes, tomorrow is never promised.

But by thinking about tomorrow instead of worrying about yesterday you are always looking forward.

And instead of worrying about yesterday hopefully you will have learned from it.

Tomorrow is like the baby with the sash at the New Year. It “comes in clean and is perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands”.

And like tomorrow your life is also in your hands.

Make the most of every minute.

Happy New Year to All and here is to a great 2018!