Age is just a number

So, this is 49.
Honestly, it doesn’t look a whole bunch different from 48.
I finished one trip around the sun and started another one on Monday.
There were plenty of kind words and wishes from many I know both in person and online.
There were awesome gifts aplenty, way more than a fellow like me ever deserves.
One of those gifts came from a complete stranger – and the cool part is he doesn’t even know he gave it to me.
Now, before you get all up in arms, no – I did not steal some unsuspecting person’s wallet.
Pickpocketing is illegal, morally wrong and on top of that, with my minimal combination of coordination and stealth, I would have been caught redhanded in about six seconds.
The gift this person gave to me (I will protect his identity since I have no idea if he wants his name in the paper) was the gift of perspective.
There I was this past Saturday morning, piling up my steps along the riverside by dawn’s early light (side note: if you haven’t watched the sun come up over Rainy River, you are really missing something special).
As I paced forward, I came upon a gentleman and his small dog making their way in the same direction I was.
He seemed like an extra friendly fellow, so I slipped the headphones off, pushed pause on my walking app and stopped to make his acquaintance (proper social distancing rules were used).
The gentleman mentioned he had seen me out and about regularly as he lived in a house nearby that faced the water.
He was curious as to my purpose for being out there so regularly, so I filled him in on the Step Forward campaign.
A gentle nod of his head acknowledged my mission.
“It’s good to make the most of the time you have. I’m out here as often as possible walking myself,” he stated.
And then he followed that up with a jaw dropper.
“I’m 82 years old and I want to keep going for as long as I can.”
82? I was floored. I would have guessed (wrongly) that he was 10 to 20 years younger than that.
In fact, I’ve known people 10 to 20 years younger than that – heck, I’d even say 30 to 40 years – who weren’t nearly as in good physical condition as this gentleman.
He wished me well and I headed on my way, but he got me thinking ahead to my future.
Yes, I’m doing Step Forward to raise money for some good local causes.
But long after the campaign is over, I have my life to live for what I hope is many years to come.
What quality of life do I want for myself as I advance in age?
Before six months ago, the answer would have been not a very good one considering I was 50 pounds overweight and eating fast food like it was one of the new categories in the revised Canada Food Guide.
But that’s all changed and it’s not only the things I do that spur me on to be better, it’s the people I meet.
People like this gentleman, who is living proof that while the years come and go, it doesn’t mean you can’t keep going.
Thanks for the wisdom, Sir. I will aim to follow it.

Steps taken this week: 109,782
Steps taken overall: 687,189
Money raised this week: $115
Money raised for Rainy River Victim District Services: $375
Money raised for the UNFC Food Bank: $1,500
Money raised overall: $1,875
Please go to my Facebook page entitled “Joey Payeur” and look for the Step Forward fundraiser post to donate. Thanks for all your support.