When I was a college student, philosophy class put a dent in my GPA. Applied calculus was a breeze. Things change as you age. Now, as I paddle my kayak, I get more philosophical, and less mathematical. My grandchildren know more things about my smartphone than I do. This morning was no different. I have learned to appreciate what I have. What I have is pretty good.

Living on the water is a blessing. It was also a choice. Buying this property and building this house was a decision. We were able to make the decision because of our hard work. It also took the vision of seeing the home on the property. After that it was talking to a contractor who knew more than we did about building a home on the side of a hill. The building process, like life, was a constant compromise between dreams and reality.

Kayaking has become my Saturday morning ritual. We had a storm last night and it makes my trip to the harbor more interesting. There was just a little water fog along the surface. The storm that passed through here after midnight could still be heard over Lake Michigan. Hearing the thunder off in the distance while I paddled through calm water was cool. Storms also stir things up. Reeds from the marsh break off and float down the river. You will also see once mighty branches floating on the river out to the lake. Pieces of slab cedar from long abandoned docks float along the surface. I will take the pontoon boat out later and gather a piece or two. Instead of cursing people who abandon the docks, I will gather the remnants. While they may not be strong any longer, they still have a use. They burn well in the fire pit.

Life has become more about appreciating what I have, than getting more. It has taken me too long to get to this place. I seem to get as much joy out of my kayak as I do our pontoon boat. Maybe it is because of the quiet. It could be the idea that I am powering it myself. The kayak is capable of getting into more places than the larger boat. Exploration is low risk. Just back up if the water gets too shallow.

Decision making becomes more about protecting what you have and less about getting more. That is easier when you are satisfied with what you have. These days when I look at buying anything major, It is no longer do I need this, but how much longer will I have to work.

To sum up the kayak philosophy on aging. Be happy. Be satisfied. Be Cautious. That does not mean stop moving. Life at this point is a little like backing up a truck with no power steering. You don’t have to go fast, but it is a lot easier to steer when you keep moving.

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Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark of Kewaunee, WI has been driving a truck for 24 years. He has been an owner operator for 11 years.

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