I’ve written some here about my own “glory days,” playing ball before I turned 20. Wow. It just now occurs to me that summer of 1978 is not “closer than it appears” in the rear view. I hit a baseball that August I’ll never forget, but at the time I lacked the experience to realize the ball I had violently smashed would not be retrieved that day. Instead of enjoying the flight, I stole a quick peek of the shrinking dot headed for the treetops and ran, head down toward the first corner.

When Manny Ramirez soon hits his 500th home run, he’ll leave his arms extended and pointed at the sky. He’ll enjoy the entire journey until the ball disappears or is engulfed in a pig-pile of lottery hopefuls.

Among life’s clichés, “be sure to smell the flowers along the way,” which I attribute to Jack Nicklaus, but really was spoken by Walter Hagen, is up there for me. Unfortunately, the flowers are beyond the periphery of looking down, running for third.

How many people truly “live as if each day is their last?” What about the Zen of “living in the moment.” I’m just putting one foot in front of the other, like a first-time marathoner being steamrolled on Heartbreak Hill. I have to do lists for work and home, bills to manage, and complex puzzles to solve about how I can leave this place a better one for my children and grandchildren. I’m also becoming increasingly anti-social. Recently a friend told me his wife helped cure his anti-social leanings by helping him see how friends, family and relationships are more important than “stuff.” I get it, but stepping outside the pod bay doors is risky.

Another solid saying is, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” So true. I experience it every time I use my stair climber. The first step is the only tough one, but it’s a mental step and those can be more challenging when the path is strewn with old baggage. There’s so much more I could be doing in so many directions with my unfinished life. It’s all out there. Step up. Head up. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.

That was my 500th post. As it leaves the yard, I hope it wasn’t too cliché.