And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age.... —Ruth 4:15 (kjv)
I regularly get a copy of Boatman’s Quarterly Review, the newsletter for and about the men and women who row rafts and guide motor rigs on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. It’s been twenty years since I did a trip, and I’ve been wondering why I still read the newsletter. The river is a young person’s game, and I no longer qualify. I’ve been growing envious of the people in the pages of BQR because I can’t be like them any longer.
In the most recent issue on page twenty-five was a picture from 1987 of Martha and Suzanne, two “boat-hags” my husband, Keith, and I loved. They were just as I remembered: happy and young, strong, and confident.
I used to be like that, I thought. I wondered where they were now, what they were doing, and then it occurred to me that they were more than likely still happy, strong, and confident. The mere absence of youth wouldn’t have changed that.
“They’re probably just the same now as they were then!” I said to Keith, trying to keep the resentment out of my voice. “So are you,” he said, grinning. “You just can’t see it because you’re so hard on yourself.”
I started to deny it but knew I’d always been my own worst critic. The difference between Martha and Suzanne and me was that they didn’t compare themselves to anyone else. Neither should I.
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