“You know, we just don’t recognize the most significant moments of lives while they are happening. Back then I thought, Well there’ll be other days. I didn’t realize that was the only day.” Archibald (Moonlight) Graham
Field of Dreams
“Dad, I don’t understand why you have to play ball so often. Can’t you skip a night?”
The speaker was my son. It was a legitimate question and one that deserved an answer, so I gave it to him.
“I try not to miss because I can’t play like this forever. There is going to come a time where my body won’t let me play this hard. I have already felt the changes. I can’t play like I did when I was 25 and am not willing to go quietly into the night.”
It is not the first discussion we have had about this nor will it be the last. When you are 11.5 you only have a cursory understanding of what it means for your body not to respond as you want or think it should. The mysterious aches and pains that come after forty some odd years of life haven’t hit you. When you are 11.5 you wake up, stretch and are ready to go.
That doesn’t always happen in your forties.
I explained that I am in decent shape but not great. I told him that I have been playing hard for as long as I can remember and that eventually the pounding catches up with you. Years of impact can’t be ignored, but we can have some say in the matter.
“So why don’t you just eat healthier food, sleep more and take better care of yourself?
I didn’t have a good answer for that question.
I shrugged my shoulders and told him that I have developed bad habits that I want him to avoid. I am responsible for most of the challenges that I face. You can say that some of my responses to said challenges are because I responded like my friend Moonlight Graham.
There are other days. There will be other days. There have always been other days and there always will be until there aren’t.
It is a lesson that I have learned the hard way. I have stood graveside and buried friends and relatives. I have said goodbye to relationships and jobs that I thought would always be there and then they weren’t.
These words sting a bit because they make me sound foolish and naive, but I can’t hide from them. We only have so much control about the people, places and things in our lives.
Sometimes things happen that we cannot stop nor influence in any meaningful manner.
I don’t like the feeling that comes with not having done enough, or at least the sense that I didn’t. One could argue that sometimes you do all that you can and things still fall apart.
That is true. Sometimes it doesn’t matter whether you give your best or your worst because neither will change the outcome. The only thing they can do is help you sleep at night. That is something whose importance shouldn’t be discounted or forgotten.
Just before we finished our conversation I explained to my son that I have a responsibility to my family to take care of myself. I play ball because it helps me physically and emotionally.
I do my best to try to balance the time needed to take care of me versus that of taking care of my family. No one wants to gain one and lose the other.
But I didn’t tell him that the very few regrets I carry with me are major and that I see the root cause as having believed there would be other days when there was only that day.
You can see the clip with the scene I mentioned in the video below:
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