Getting Older in the New Year

My older cousin George died late last year. He is among a group of people I’ve known who have suffered vehicular accidents. George took the impact of a collision on his head as a passenger while vacationing with his parents in California. The accident took place while he was in his mid-20s, more than 20 years ago. He has spent more or less half of his existence in a comatose state.

Another favorite cousin, Trevor, with whom I was very close when I was young, was in an early morning collision while on his way to work at a scrap metal yard. He was hit by the only other vehicle on the road at the time, a drunk driver who walked away from the scene. After three days they took Trevor off life support. That was the spring after my son was born, 27 years ago. Trevor was only 22 at the time. I think about him nearly every day. I also have a still-living cousin who was in the absurd situation of being struck, while in his work vehicle, by a police officer running a red light. He successfully sued.

I have said before in this column that I don’t do any driving. I can wonder now if that has extended my life at all. I know I’ve been in the hands of truly bad drivers who are otherwise good people. These friends have never had to trust their safety to whatever skills I’ve never brought to the road.

The point is that I’m still alive and I’m closing in on a particular mark of 49 years this spring. I’m very healthy in many ways that I wasn’t twenty-odd years ago. Keri and I have gradually adapted points of exercise and diet that, with time, have had noticeable and really desirable effects on my body and spirit. In addition to not driving or spending much time in traffic, these practices have assisted me as I get older. Keri is getting older too – it’s something we do together.

My son has taken up yoga but he drives to work down in Lethbridge. I have no idea of what local traffic is like in Lethbridge, and I haven’t been a passenger to his driving. He has eaten healthy food that we have fed him and happily done yoga practices with me and Keri. He will be 27 this February, as I mentioned.

At some point I will pass too. I could last as long as some great-aunts who have made it into their 90s. The great-aunts likely didn’t involve themselves in high-risk employment or lifestyle or much of anything stronger than coffee. That may sound pretty dull if you’re only 22 or thereabouts, but if you’re as old as I am these simple choices are helpful in achieving age and having the health and energy to enjoy it. That may sound strange to much younger people but they may someday hope to get older too.

Reinhardt lives in Boyle Street with his wife, Keri Breckenridge.

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