Getting older, trying to get wiser

Birthdays are a source of fear and trepidation for many, a sign they are one step closer to the end of the line.
I prefer a much different perspective every time July 13 rolls around. The way I look at it, it’s a reason for me to celebrate when that date comes up on the calendar because, for all the dumb things and bad choices I have made in my life, the bottom line is I am quite fortunate to still be shuffling through this old world at all as I near the brink of turning 49.
Youth’s naivete breeds a sense of invincibility within those of newer generations, despite all scientific evidence pointing to the contrary.
Just because you believe you will come through an unnecessarily risky situation still in one piece doesn’t necessarily mean you will.
Take the time I was nine and watched several friends of mine on the playground pull off what seemed like the ultra-cool feat of going down our school playground slide standing up in the middle of winter.
I certainly wasn’t going to be left out of the fun, so without a notion of concern, I clambered up the slide ladder and did likewise.
At least, I did right up to the point where I next remember waking up in the nurse’s office after losing my footing and sustaining a decent concussion when the back of my head ricocheted off the slide like a super ball off a gymnasium wall.
That wasn’t my last decision to forego safety for the sake of peer status.
But while the number of similar situations elevated in my young adulthood, I was somehow granted from on high to survive my poor judgments and be here today.
I’m happy to report that number has dramatically decreased as the years have gone by.
Crazy risks nowadays consist of such tightrope-quality decisions like whether I’ll try and stay up until midnight to watch both ends of the Hockey Night in Canada doubleheader or debating whether to try a second helping of dessert.
I still have times where I think and act 12 when I’m actually in my late 40s. It’s OK to feel young, but nobody said you have to repeat the mistakes of your youth.
That’s partially why doing things like helping others is so important. It gives you a window to a world outside of yourself and makes you see you can make a difference if you really want to – as long as you’re still in good enough health and state of mind to do so.
Taking on the challenge of Step Forward is a direct product of me starting to figure out how to re-channel my energies into having a positive impact on those who are behind the eight-ball by no fault of their own.
So, if you’re wondering what my birthday wish is this year, it’s that you are able to figure this same thing out. And when you do so, if you can lend a hand to the Step Forward campaign and brighten the days of others who really need it, you can even give yourself the gift of knowing your decision helped make somebody’s else life better.
Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go shake my fist and yell at some clouds.

Steps taken this week: 104,839
Steps taken overall: 577,407
Money raised this week: $240
Money raised for Rainy River District Victim Services: $240
Money raised for the UNFC Food Bank: $1,500
Money raised overall: $1,740
Please go to my Facebook page entitled “Joey Payeur” and look for the Step Forward fundraiser post to donate. Thanks for all your support.