Tim GilmerIf you are reading this in March 2015, this is the month that I officially stop being an immature dreamer and seeker after foolish pleasures. I am now 70.

They say wisdom comes with age, but I’m not so sure of that. On the other hand, I am quite certain of heartburn and hemorrhoids. But since geezers, traditionally, are supposed to be founts of profundity, I will spare you the litany of anatomical disintegration. Let’s just say that I have learned a thing or two.

First lesson: Life is anything but predictable. As a young boy, my dream of becoming a major league baseball player began giving way in my late teens to a fantasy of somehow being rich and famous and living in a mansion with a revolving bandstand and a view that looked down on the bright lights of the big city. Instead, at 20 I found myself looking down on a linoleum floor in a hospital room, paralyzed, strapped to a Stryker frame.

Second lesson: Fantasy is easier than reality. It took me five years to get over the need to escape the reality of paralysis, and then I wasn’t really over it. I just cooled down a little on drinking and drugs. I found in time that what was really bothering me was not my everyday reality, it was the loss of the dreams I once had for my future. Even worse, it was the loss of the ability to dream. At my lowest point, I could not imagine a future.

Third lesson: Confronting everyday reality gradually leads to regaining a future. It took about 10 more years of striving and failing and