“As we grow, we often have more fear of failure; our comfort zone shrinks, and we take fewer risks.” The quote, attributed to Yehuda Berg, delights me. I delight in rejecting it. Although maybe I should be more careful.
A couple days ago, Bill and I stayed at Cottonwood Cove resort, part of the Lake Mead park system. Some of the marinas and beaches around Lake Mead are closed now, what with the drought and the lake level having sunk almost two hundred feet. I figured I’d never see it again, because of that and the fact that it’s getting harder to do everything. Like lug picnic stuff through triple-digit heat to a boat, and for Bill, getting back into the boat on those cheesy little ladders. But last weekend, we did one more sentimental trip.
Bill took the above picture of me, and then, taking my hands off the wheel, I took this picture of him. While the boat was still in motion.
Suddenly the boat turned sharply to the right. It was a little boat on a big lake, not going that fast, for Pete’s sake. Had my hip not bumped the wheel, it could have steered itself. But that’s not what happened.
The engine changed pitch to a loud roar. The boat wrenched hard to the right. I wasn’t sure what was happening. I felt disoriented. Bill’s voice cut through my shock: “Throttle down!” I pulled the throttle to neutral and the boat stopped. I sat down, breathing hard, horrified at my stupidity. The boat had done a complete 180.
And we weren’t even drinking yet.
Afterward, I asked him if I’d fallen out of the boat, did he know where the vests were? He didn’t.
Now, looking at my photo, I laugh. I look so proud, happy, and carefree. Not like the idiot I was.
But in spite of that, we were glad we went, and we’ll go again. Lake Mead Recreation Area is where Bill and I began our relationship, twenty years ago. We boat-camped at a deserted beach we named Donkey Poo. Guess why.
As the years passed, we vacationed at the various marinas and resorts around Lake Mead with everyone in the family. It’s such a sentimental place for us.
As Bill and I get older, we have more physical limitations. He’s 68; I’m 61. Not that old, but everybody ages differently. It’s wonderful to be a team, to be able to look out for each other. Because at this age, stuff happens.
On Tuesday at dawn, we were all packed and ready to leave the hotel. He was in the car, waiting for me. I was still in the hotel room, making one more just-in-case trip to the bathroom. I reached around to flush the toilet and my back started spasming! I could hardly stand. Barely made it to the bed, where I sat and though, “WTF do I do now? Can I even walk?” I couldn’t communicate with Bill or let him into the room. The key was on the dresser.
I did some deep breathing, tightened my abs, and stood. A few minutes later I wobbled out to the car, whimpering as I climbed in. We sat there for a minute, engine running.
“I can’t close my door,” I said. He unbuckled, climbed out, and shut it for me. It seemed chivalrous, although it wasn’t the most romantic situation. The car seat was comfortable, though, and I figured I’d be fine after resting my back all the way home – a four hour drive. As we drove out of the cove, Bill glanced in the rearview. “Oh, man, you should see the lake.”
“I can’t turn around,” I said.
He turned the car, facing the lake so I could see.
I love this man. We are bumbling and fumbling our way into old age together, laughing as we go. Sometimes we get scared, but we refuse to be limited by it. Life is what it is. Nobody lives forever, you get weak and die, but – within the limits of reality – you have to keep trying.
Maybe age is daunting, but I will never give up. I will deal with my aches and pains, and keep fighting, because you only get one shot. And I am so grateful to have Bill in my life, who twenty years later has become my soul mate.