My new best friend

Joe Sledge 2One Saturday morning I was out hiking along a trail in a new area that was stunningly beautiful.  As typically occurs on these scenic hikes, I was lost in thought as a result of the calmness and serendipity of the great wilderness.

Along the way I met a man who quickly became my new best friend.  It is fantastic that my new best friend likes to hike!  After talking with him for some time, I discovered that he also enjoys many of the same things that I do: hiking, reading, singing, dancing, and learning.  It was clear from the twinkle in his eye that he enjoyed life and had retained his whimsy after dozens of trips around the sun.

My new best friend is quite a bit older than me, perhaps 30 years or so older.  I discovered that he is a good listener, as I rambled on about my life, interests, and challenges.  I could tell that my new best friend has a great deal of experience and as a consequence a much broader perspective than me.  Thus, I tried to listen and hear what he had to say.

Although it was clear he had much wisdom to impart, there were three points that I learned from him that day.  I think they are appropriate to share with my readers.

First, TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTH!  It is the one thing that you will lose the fastest as you age.  Invest a little each day in your body and its health.  Eat right.  Exercise.  Visit the doctor.  Don’t carry stress for too long.

My new best friend appears very spry and retained a mystical twinkle in his eye as he said:

“Take care of your body – it is the only place you have to live here on earth.”

Second, he said BE WILLING TO MAKE MISTAKES and take risks.  Don’t be too concerned about your image or what other people think.  Enjoy life.  Step outside the box.  Be willing to make mistakes.  Use your instincts to guide your decisions.  Trust yourself.

His third point was something that made me really think.  It was unexpected.  However, he was right on target when he said,


He affirmed the old adage that it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.  Be willing to connect with people.  Give them your heart.  You are a strong person.  Be willing to fall in love.

I am very excited to have this new person in my life.  He is terrific!

Who is this person, you may ask?

I am apprehensive to reveal his identity.  I wouldn’t want anyone to steal him away.  He is a great man, smart, experienced, fun, and caring.

My new best friend is myself at 80 years old, thirty years from now.  You see, as I was hiking a few weeks ago and pondering my future, or more accurately “fretting” about my future, I began to think about what I would be like in 30 years time.

How would I look back on this current season of life?

What advice would my 80 year old self give to me today at the brink of merely 50 years?

This is when I realized that I needed to befriend myself and take his sage advice. I need to look at the world from his perspective.  My new best friend is who I will look to when I become indecisive or fearful.  I will ask my new best friend: what would he do?

How would my 80 year old self advise me?

He has a lot of experience that I should heed.  He doesn’t want to look back with regret, just happiness and joy at all the adventures he embarked upon over the past 3 decades.

What advice would an older you give?  What would you say to yourself 30 years from now?


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About John Forrest