The choice is Dutch or Pennsylvania Dutch. According to the Pennsylvania Dutch (German) proverb, "Vee get too soon oldt, und too late schmardt!" The English translation of a Dutch adage is, "We grow too soon old and too late smart."

Actually, my 58th birthday two days ago brought to mind the Pennsylvania Dutch version. I heartily agree with the "oldt" part, but I don't think it is too late to get "schmardt" until the moment this life ends.

It did take me quite a few years to realize what is really important. I've been blessed with two jobs that I have enjoyed. I spent 22 years at a newspaper where I worked with and met many people who touched my life in one way or another.

For the past dozen or so years, I have been teaching at a junior-senior high school where my life has again been blessed by my colleagues and my students.

Both jobs have been important, but it is the people I have met who are much more significant.

Each passing year has made me more grateful for new and long-standing friends.

Likewise, family has been become more and more important. I am grateful to God for my parents, parents-in-law, aunts, uncles and others who have gone before me, and for my brothers, sister, their spouses, my niece and nephews.

My greatest gratitude is reserved for my wife Jo Ann. Nothing is more important to my life than she is - except God Who blessed me with her and every other grace in my life.

It may have taken me a while to make the love of God and God's love of me the center of my life, and to love my wife, family and others out of my love for God.

I am, at last, "schmardt" enough to know this. It just goes to show it's never too late to learn to love.

+++

With God as top priority, everything else falls into place.