I’ve been told twice, in the last 60 days, that I’m old, then given a senior discount without asking. I’m only 62.

Yes, there was a day I thought 62 was ancient and, well, you might as well bury me in the cold hard ground because life was over. Until I turned 62 and realized that, while the mirror might agree with the assessments of those two young whippersnappers (you can only call someone a whippersnapper if you’re older than 60), in reality, I feel more vibrant, purposeful and excited about my future than at anytime in my past. Oh, sure, my mind still writes checks my body can’t cash, but I’ll never out grow that.

I have done a lot of things in my life. Carpenter, minister, oil-field worker, hay-hauler, sawmill sawyer, writer, nonprofit founder, humanitarian, real estate developer, tire jockey, ventriloquist, photographer, and the list goes on. I was once introduced by a good friend who, after listing some of my professions said, “Rick really doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up!”

I thought about that for a while and realized that I’m exactly what I want to be when I grow up: curious, explorative, unsatisfied with status quo, adventuresome (as long as I can be in bed by 9), risk taking, creative, artistic and willing to learn new things.

The books in these photos are of new tricks I’m teaching myself. I’m going to build a canoe (The Prospector won the contest!) and it will require new skills that I currently do not possess. I’ll learn how to use a lot of hand tools like planes, spokeshaves and saws – tools with which I have no expertise…yet. This project will take a long time and I’m okay with that because the kind of craftsmanship required to build a cedar strip canoe is not learned in haste.

First, I’ll read the experts, then I’ll watch a few Youtube channels, then one day, I’ll start on a process of building a cedar strip canoe – something I’ve wanted since I was 21 and saw the first one on a high mountain lake in McCall, Idaho.

The Chestnut Prospector by Bear Mountain Boats

And, I’ll prove to myself that old dogs really can learn new tricks.

Once I begin, I’ll document it so you can learn along with me! Hopefully, you will be inspired to learn new tricks whether you’re an old dog like me or a young whippersnapper.

The plans arrive tomorrow from Bear Mountain Canoe in Canada. I might not sleep tonight.

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