I felt old today.
I was carrying rocks. We are adding on to a rock wall that we built on the South side of our property. My neighbor recently dug out the foundation for a wall he’s building to level the side of his property.
We live in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Our soil is very rocky. My neighbor’s excavation has exposed a lot of rocks. He offered to let me have all I could carry off. Rocks are expensive. Even when they’re free they’re expensive.
These ones cost the effort it takes to haul them off. I figured I needed about 60 to build my wall. (My lovely wife later told me my estimate was off by half.) I moved 10 rocks today. I can fit about 4 or 5 in my wheelbarrow at a time. My neighbor’s house is only a block away.
I spent about an hour gathering loading, moving and unloading those rocks. And then I was beat. And my back hurt. And I was plenty dirty. And tired. There was a time when I could work all day and stay up all night.
That was a long time ago. . .when I was young.
When I was young, I did some foolish things. I said some foolish things. I made some foolish decisions.
But, then didn’t we all?
I sometimes see questions posted online asking,
If you could go back and change one thing about life what would you change?
My answer has always been the same: Not a thing.
I like my life. I have a wonderful wife, a job I enjoy, a budding writing career, a house that I like. I get to live in the exact spot in the world that I want to live.
Life is good.
But, my life is a culmination of the decisions, good and bad, that I’ve made throughout my life. If I were to go back and change those earlier mistakes, who’s to say that I’d be the person I am today.
We don’t get to trade bits and pieces of our life when we look back. The hard times make us strong.
Good judgement comes from experience
Experience comes from poor judgement
I have moved 37 rocks. Did you know that rocks are actually sized by how big of a one you can carry? There are one-man and two-man rocks. A one-man rock is a rock that a single person could lift. A two-man rock? Well, you get the idea.
My rocks are mostly one man rocks. I was able to get a couple of two man rocks as well. I need about 90 more rocks. My neighbor probably has that many or more. It will take me the better part of a month to get them all moved, one wheelbarrow load at a time. And at the end of each day I’ll be tired and feel old.
I’ll take it. It’s worth being old to have been young once.
Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. Order Miscellany II, an anthology including his latest short story, “The Mercy System” here
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