Words to Live by: Aging gracefully

By : Rick Claggett
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Rick Claggett

Rick Claggett

By the time this article publishes, I will be 41. I’ve never been the type to dwell on age, well, not my own age. “I won’t fight aging,” I told myself. I will age gracefully. No plastic surgery, no covering up gray hair. Of course I made these promises when I had no wrinkles and my hair was a solid dark brown. Now I stare in anguish at the wrinkles near my ear and do my best to hide the variety of “Just for Men” products in my bathroom.

But aging gracefully isn’t just about your appearance; It’s about your way of life.

40 started out rough for me. I turned 40 less than two weeks after my father passed away. That sent me into a mid-life crisis. I spent a good deal of time evaluating the direction of my life, my relationships and my goals.

It became evident to me that the relationship I was in, the one I thought would last forever, was not healthy for either of us. When that ended I went full swing into recapturing my youth. Carrying on with the party boy reputation I had built, I logged more and more hours in bars than my bank account would have liked. Unfortunately, this led to some poor decision making.

After making enough bad decisions, I was forced to evaluate my lifestyle. With the help of a college friend, it became clear to me that,although I didn’t do something stupid every time I was drinking, every time I did something stupid, I was drinking.

I’m sober 104 days now. My first real step toward aging gracefully, and the best choice I have made in a year full of ups and downs.

As my last day at 40 years old draws to a close, I thought I would leave you with 40 things I have learned this year. They are in no particular order of greatness, and if you think I am talking about you,then you are probably right.

  1. Some people will do anything to see their name in print.
  2. Too many people just read the headlines.
  3. The Goldbergs is a must watch TV show.
  4. My life is better without cable TV.
  5. I have the best friends.
  6. I look better in a size 32 than a size 36.
  7. Cancer sucks.
  8. Print is not dead.
  9. Productive selfishness is a good thing. Lazy selfishness is bad.
  10. A Star Wars movie can have good acting in it.
  11. Adele is a musical goddess.
  12. Hard work really does pay off.
  13. The Squatty Potty is an essential life accessory.
  14. Movies Out Loud is hilarious.
  15. Tampa Pride made a great comeback.
  16. Gender is fluid.
  17. Don’t drunk-promise anything to George Wallace. You may wake up to the Facebook announcement that you are hosting Movies Out Loud.
  18. Gay marriage proposals make me tear up.
  19. Orlando City Soccer games are a blast.
  20. Quitting drinking didn’t end my life.
  21. Owning a business is hard work.
  22. A sporty car beats a sedan.
  23. Air Supply is still my favorite music group, and seeing them at EPCOT remains the best show of the year.
  24. Playing softball with the Rock Hard Roosters and The Ivy keeps me sane.
  25. To thine own self be true.
  26. It’s OK to make mistakes if you learn from them.
  27. Don’t go home with anyone you wouldn’t introduce to your mother.
  28. It’s not religious freedom to discriminate. You’re just an asshole.
  29. Tom Dyer is my hero.
  30. Babies are cute, as long as they aren’t mine.
  31. The Orlando theater scene is on fleek.
  32. You don’t have to be smart to run for president.
  33. Starbucks teaches us about religion through coffee cups.
  34. Equality Florida galas are impressive.
  35. Eating rainbow color Doritos will make you gay.
  36. There is always something to do in Tampa Bay.
  37. “Netflix and chill” doesn’t mean watch TV and relax.
  38. All trivia nights rule.
  39. I say “word” a lot.
  40. Hair grows in places you don’t want it.

This issue of Watermark marks the end of my nearly 14 year employment with Watermark Media and the beginning of Watermark Publishing Group. I am excited to see what the future hold for both this new company and the communities it serves. It goes without saying that Tom Dyer is an amazing man who has left an important footprint.

So, here’s to the future of Watermark. May it age as gracefully as its creator.

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