I was out on a lovely trail the other day when I came across temptations. The trail was parallel to another trail, and in between them was a small creek. At one point I thought I would be fun to cross over to the other trail as I was reaching my self-imposed time limit for my walk. That way I could have new scenery on the way back. I looked longingly at a fallen tree that lay over the stream.
And I talked myself out of it. It was raining a little, and might be slick. I really didn’t want to fall in, possibly damage my phone – or my self! I’m too old to pull shenanigans like that anymore. And old enough to break if I take a tumble.
My caution bump has gotten bigger over the years. At one time, I would not have hesitated to scramble over the creek, or even veer off the trail for the prospect of a more interesting hike. I’ve done that. I’ve never broken any bones, or been seriously lost, and my bouts with hypothermia had nothing to do with unscheduled rabbit trails onto paths less traveled (less for good reason).
It’s not that I couldn’t. I may go back another day and do the fallen log crossing just because it sounds like fun. But I will be cautious, conservative, and above all, prepared. That’s the difference between the maid and the matron. Now, I can foresee a multitude of ways this could at best inconvenience me, at worst, incapacitate me. Then? Teen me would have done it first and might not have thought anything of it even later. Our brains really do change over the years.
We were talking recently about how we managed to survive into adulthood. Some of the stuff we pulled! Man alive, it’s a miracle we came through in one piece. I suspect most kids can say this when they are old enough to gain the perspective of experience and wisdom. It’s weird to look back, now, at some of the shenanigans – worse, when I mention my terrible antics, my kids talk about stuff they pulled off under my nose. You’d think a parent who got up to stuff would recognize the same in their children. Only it seems my kids were not pulling the same sort of things I was.
And so it goes on, year after year, the caution bump developing through the school of hard knocks. Only don’t let it get too large. It’s not healthy to live in fear any more than it is to live recklessly. One must reck from time to time. And then again, sometimes you have to take a risk. A calculated risk, sure. But there’s no forward progress without some risks. Looking back, it was worth it. Looking forward, I need to remember to sometimes do the unexpected. It’s fun! And it helps me grow.