I don't mean to go all Pollyana on you. If you've been hanging out here awhile, you know that although I am fascinated with the many aspects of growing old – both personally and in general – I am deeply aware of what can be the perilous downsides of the passage of time.
But lately, I've been working the positive and following on yesterday's The Best is Yet to Come post, my long-time friend John Brandt emailed a story I cannot resist sharing with you.
Just as different religions have certain myths, rituals and traditions in common – the creation myth, the flood/rebirth narrative, the golden rule, for example - often our well-worn adages and aphorisms dress up the same lessons or meanings in different language.
That way the point is reinforced and if you dismiss them because they sound like cliches, certainly you know by now they bear repeating so frequently because they are true.
John's story is another way of saying the best is yet to come and it's a charmer. It is about Olympic gold medalist skier, Billy Kidd. Here goes.
In 1970 after he retired from competitive skiing, Kidd, who is now 71, moved to Steamboat Springs, Colorado where he is still serving as director of skiing at the Steamboat Ski & Resort corporation.
In his early years there, my friend John was organizing an event at the resort during which Kidd would be presented with a skiing award.
As John explains, Kidd became “panicky at the prospect of all those people expecting him to say something grand. He's fine with talking to anyone, as long as both they and he are on skis. But in front of a microphone, he's super chicken in a cowboy hat.”
So John suggested that Kidd tell stories, “which he's good at. He did and the evening was a great success including Billy's anecdotes about how he learned to live with that sense of expectancy you addressed in [Monday's blog post]. This is the story that brought down the house.”
"When my son was about eight years old, we used to go ski jumping every Tuesday evening. The jump in Steamboat Springs stayed open until 9PM. He loved to jump under the lights.
"This one night was memorable because he kept besting his longest jump, probably six or seven times in a row, followed by the requisite victory dance.
“At about 8:45PM, I told him that we had to head for home and dinner. He looked at me and with a determined face that only an eight-year-old can pull off he said, 'But dad, I haven't had my best jump yet.'
"As I stand here before you,” Kidd continued, “it occurs to me to ask, have you had your best jump yet? That's a question I hope I ask myself until the day I retire my cowboy hat for good."
It's also the question John asked me in his email and now I'm asking you.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Elizabeth Galles: First Impressions