These Are the Days

How did the wonder years become the golden years without ever changing the channel? And really, should we worry about the years or should we relish the days?

I don’t look forward to my annual physical exam now as much as I did when I wore a younger man’s clothes.

I liked hearing that “atta-boy” I heard for decades, since my chosen profession involved a lot of activity. And some rough handling.

Running a chainsaw or jumping into a skid steer without ear protection then means now I am into my third set of hearing aids.

Decades of hand-digging trees and installing landscapes means that it has become a little tricky drawing back my bow, necessitating archery technique over brawn.

Adjustments and recalibrations prevent an abundance of pharmaceutical intervention.

This is the time of year we might reflect back on 2021, try to balance the positive with the not-so-great. Adventures can be relived in those memories, including special places and times we hold in our hearts.

Hydrangea paniculate: Cherish the gift of today.
Hydrangea paniculate: Cherish the gift of today.

Looking back, with a little mental flossing, I can focus on the fish landed, not those that got away. I like that.

I doubt that high school was a 100% positive experience for everyone. Maybe it is destined to be just a little uncomfortable at the end, forcing us at age 18 to move out and on into adulthood.

But back in the day I became class president at West Genesee High School, a gift that just keeps giving.

Currently in the midst of organizing our 50th reunion next summer and I am looking forward to it. Because the older we get, the more relatable we all become. I like talking and listening to people.

I’ve evolved to actually hear what they are saying. Not just nod my head. Or smile and wonder if they would go out with me or if I needed to study more to get a higher grade than them.

I used to try too hard to get it all in before it was over. And it ended anyway. Experience has taught me to do fewer things at a time with more focus. And like most folks, I am just calmer and more relaxed when among plants. I surround myself with a budding and evolving view, steered by nature. It’s a factor in my own personal maintenance that really just grew on me.

Nobody walks their life in a straight line. Sure, we mapped a route and destination. And thought we knew how we would get there. But life presents obstacles and opportunities.

The way we navigated the curves defines who we are now. Some people are suspicious about good things happening, fearing bad things will follow. I think that’s not the way to live. And I have a few holes in my memory but I like that just fine. Selective memory is not all bad, you know.

Enjoy every gift and blessing this holiday season and then hold them in your heart. Because truly, these are the days.

Jim Sollecito is the first lifetime senior certified landscape professional in New York State. He operates Sollecito Landscaping Nursery in Syracuse. Contact him at
468-1142 or