One thing I've certainly learned as I've gotten older is pain. Not that I didn't experience pain in my younger years; I just don't remember it being as constant as it is now. I've had many experiences in the outdoors with those who have received "senior status" and have first hand seen how those senior citizens cope with the pain that comes with age. Some do so very gracefully, while others just give up on their outdoor activities.
I hope to never have to give up my love of the outdoors because of the pains that come with old age. I've learned the hard way how to cope and hope my prescription allows you many years of enjoyment in the outdoors.
For the young: Yes, I know you are invincible and can work through any pain. You want to demonstrate your strength and stick-to-it-ness for everyone to see. Prescription: Don't be stupid!! (can I say that?)
While you might believe you are invincible, you are not. While you know you can work through the pain, don't. While I know you're strong and have a willingness to never give up, you don't need to demonstrate it to me. What you do to your body in your youth will come back to you as you age. Take two smart pills daily and think before you act and you will find yourself in much better physical condition when you reach senior citizen status.
For the middle-aged: Yes, I know you've been climbing trees since you were young, and you've never used a safety belt, and you've never fallen out of a boat, and that canoeing experience you did as a scout will stay with you forever. And yes, you feel as strong as you did when you played football in high school, and yes, you have never lost your stamina, and no, bugs never bother you. Prescription: Don't be stupid!! (can I say that again?)
While you feel as young as you did 20 years ago, and you don't feel like you've aged (even though those you grew up with are looking old and gray), in fact the years are beginning to take their toll on you and your body. When it gets uncomfortable climbing that tree stand, stop doing it and move to ladders, tripods, or hunting from the ground. While you've never fallen out of a boat, set a good example for those by wearing that buoyancy device. Don't believe for a minute that that 50 pound bag of seed or fertilizer won't hurt your back- they will and you may suffer for the remainder of your life. Take two smart pills daily (remember, as you age you are supposed to have wisdom), make good decisions that protect you and will demonstrate to those younger than you that good sense is an attribute gained as one ages.
For the Senior Citizen: If you followed my advice in your younger years, you are continuing to enjoy the outdoors. Yes, there are pains, but you learned how to deal with them and you are not doing anything to make them worse. You medicate, within reason, to ensure you can continue your quality of life. If you didn't follow my advice in your younger years you probably aren't spending a great deal of time in the outdoors. You sit back in your easy chair and reminisce about the great things you did as a youth; how high you climbed in those deer stands, the fact that you fell out once, but didn't get "seriously injured", how you used to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt that you could keep up with those "half your age" when it came to physical labor, and you never met a chigger who enjoyed your flesh. Yes, you've had your great experiences in the outdoors, but unfortunately the only experiences you'll be sharing from now on are those that happened in the past. Prescription: To those who followed my advice, congratulations. You have a clean bill of health and will continue to enjoy the great outdoor activities you cherish. To those who did not follow my advice, enjoy the memories you've had and pick up a few subscriptions to your favorite outdoor magazines. Oh, and please, share with those youngsters why you won't be joining them on their (hunting, fishing, camping, hiking) outing. "Be safe, be smart, and follow the doctor's advice"