October 3rd and I'm looking in the mirror.
"I'm 50 years old today"
I look at my reflection and I see the same guy from 10 years ago just with a little more grey but nicely textured with my brown hair. I still fool a lot of people when it comes to guessing my age. Physically, I'm probably in the best shape in my life. Long gone is the overweight couch potato of 20 years ago. I haven't smoked since 1994 and I rarely drink anymore. I'm 195 pounds and I could use some more chiseling in the gym. I guess I consider myself lucky for someone that is now a half century old.
When it comes to fishing, I still possess that youthful eagerness that I had in my teens. Leaping out of bed at five in the morning. My face lights up whenever I see the river. I fish the pools and runs hard. At the end of the day, I'm usually one of the last guys off the river. But, there's those signs that I'm getting older. I have to use bigger floats to see them better. At the end of the day my back is sore. I have those little aches and pains that come with age.
Lately, more and more of my fishing trips are often by myself now. The older guys I fish with wouldn't be able to keep up. Father time has taken a toll on them. Some have had a knee or hip replaced. Others have failing eye sight and some are just out of shape. They're content fishing the closest spot to the parking lot. Most are lucky are to fish for a couple hours and head home to take a nap. They don't have the patience they once had. My passion is just too strong just to wet a line a for a couple of hours. As long as I'm physically able to do it, I can't see myself stopping.
I've seen the older anglers gradually disappear on my home waters. I know some by name and others by face. Some have passed away and others can no longer physically do it. It makes you take stock that we can't stop time. That's why I take my health so seriously now. I don't know what I would do if I couldn't fish anymore? I haven't really thought about it because my age isn't an issue.
We all deal differently when it comes to age. Some bemoan getting older, others embrace it, and others see it was just a number and go about their business. The unexpected death of my father a couple years ago has made me realize that time is precious and be taken away at a moments notice. There's plenty I want to do, but at times I do feel a sense of urgency. In another decade I'll be 60 and most people at that age are retired. I do worry about it because I don't have enough to comfortably retire. There's the possiblity that I might have to work well into my 60s. Back in my 20s I had no thought of the future. I had no responsibility or worries. Turning 50 was so far away as it was an after thought.
Like most people, I have a lot of good, bad, and really bad experiences in my life. The worst ones were the most trying and I wondered if I could recover from them. I weathered them and I came out stronger. In fact, each event has given me renewed appreciation for my life and the inspiration to keep exploring, learning, and growing. I feel it's a never ending process.
There's plenty I want to do and I'm going to do it. Next year, my girlfriend and I are planning a trip to Italy, I want to write a book, and run in a marathon. Turning 50 was just another milestone and I'm ready for another decade of adventures.