Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | April 7, 2021

Don’t Let the Old Man In

I turned 65 today — a milestone that once seemed so far away. And now, it’s here!

To be honest, there are a lot of things about getting older that I hate. For example, I hate that so much of my hair has turned loose and that what remains has turned gray. And I hate that the wiring in my metabolism has also worked itself loose. With every passing year it becomes harder than ever to lose a pound.

But there are also things about getting older that I love. I find great comfort in the security of my marriage and that I continue to share life with the woman I fell in love with more than 40 years ago. And I love my kids who are no longer kids. And I am head over heels about being a grandfather to three of the most beautiful granddaughters on the planet.

I remain committed to the divine work that God called me to almost 50 years ago. Little did I realize at the time what yielding to his call would mean for me. I continue on an incredible kingdom adventure that still excites me and has taken me to 46 countries around the world. I look forward to getting up every morning and going to “work.”

A couple of years ago, I listened to a song entitled “Don’t Let the Old Man In” by country singer and songwriter Toby Keith. This is one of those songs that instantly spoke to me. In many ways it spoke for me.

Keith was inspired by Eastwood to write the song. Keith and Eastwood are friends. While golfing together, Eastwood told Keith that he was going to start filming “The Mule” on his 88th birthday. The movie is based on the true story of a WWII veteran in his 80s who takes a job as a courier for a Mexican drug cartel. 

Keith asked Eastwood how he found the energy to continue working so hard at his age. Eastwood replied, “I just get up every morning and go out. And I don’t let the old man in.” Keith knew he had to write a song about that — and he did. Eastwood was so pleased with the song that he incorporated it into his movie.

For me, the song has become something of a theme song — a message that inspires me to keep living life to the fullest and to keeping the old man at bay. Getting older does not mean that we have to wave the flag of surrender or to stop living life to the fullest. It just means that we adjust the way we adventure. I have learned to adventure my age — to hike my hike. But I keep adventuring, no matter what.

This past week I reflected on my older age adventures, many of which were inspired by my son who reawakened in me a desire to opt outside more and to do hard things outdoors. Here is what I came up with and why I remain committed to always having something hard to look forward to. It’s the best way to keep the old man out.

Age 55
The Neches River Wilderness Canoe Race
The Colorado River 100 Canoe Race
The Texas Winter 100k Canoe Race

Age 56
The Texas River Marathon Canoe Race
The Texas Water Safari | The World’s Toughest Canoe Race (260 miles)
The Neches River Wilderness Canoe Race
The Colorado River 100 Canoe Race

Age 57
The Texas River Marathon Canoe Race
The Texas Water Safari | The World’s Toughest Canoe Race (260 miles)
The Neches River Wilderness Canoe Race
Mountain Biking the Jungles of Angkor Wat, Cambodia
The Lone Star Hiking Trail | 100 mile thru-hike

Age 58
Guadalupe Peak Summit | The Highest Point in Texas | Solo
Mountain Biking the Jungles of Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Age 59
The Texas River Marathon Canoe Race
Hiking in Alaska
McKittrick Canyon Hike | Guadalupe Mountains
Chihuahuan Desert Mountain Bike Endurance Ride
Fishing on the Amazon River

Age 60
Paddled the Devils River | The Most Pristine River in Texas
Digging for Topaz in Mason County
The Neches River Wilderness Canoe Race
Guadalupe Peak Summit | The Highest Point in Texas
Hunter Peak Summit | Guadalupe Mountains
Chihuahuan Desert Mountain Bike Endurance Ride

Age 61
Aztec Cave Hike | Franklin Mountains
Planked 7 minutes and 30 seconds
El Capitan Summit | Guadalupe Mountains
Guadalupe Peak Summit | The Highest Point in Texas
Mountain Biking the Jungles of Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Age 62
Hiking in Alaska
Chihuahuan Desert Mountain Bike Endurance Ride
Purchased Off-Grid Property in Big Bend | Start of a New Adventure
Guadalupe Peak Summit | The Highest Point in Texas
Mountain Biking the Congo-Nile Trail in Rwanda

Age 63
Hiking in Alaska
Mule Ears Trail Hike | Big Bend
Killed my First Hog
Developing our off-grid property

Age 64
Bartlett Peak Summit | Guadalupe Mountains
Bush Mountain Summit | Guadalupe Mountains
Killed My First Deer
Developing our off-grid property

Age 65
Excited to start year 65 by leading my Band of Fathers group to remodel Terlingua Ranch Community Church in the Chihuahuan Desert


Responses

  1. Wow, congratulations and thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Congratulations and Happy Birthday.

  3. Congratulations Omar! 🎆Let the adventures roll!!
    Ed

  4. Happy Birthday, Omar! I didn’t realize you share the date with my sweet grandma Christensen, born 130 years ago today, so you were born on her 65th. She was one of a kind, and so are you. Your zest for life and adventure and passion for sharing the gospel are inspiring!
    🎂

    • Thanks for your kind words, Cathy. Honored to share a birthdate with your sweet grandma. Grateful for your friendship.

  5. Happy Birthday, Omar!! You are an inspiration in so many ways. Thank you for your great example on how to live life well. I consider it a tremendous privilege to call you friend and brother!
    Jim

    • Thanks so much, Jim. Grateful for your friendship.

  6. Happy Birthday Omar!
    Grateful for you!

    • Thanks, Terry. On my adventure list is to shoot my first turkey. Hopefully soon!

  7. Felicidades!!! Mi Pastor!!!!!! We miss you so much!! We keep praying for you and your multiple ministries!!!

    • Thanks, Carlos. Miss you and El Salvador. Grateful for all of the water wells we drilled together. Great adventures!

  8. That is inspiring Omar. Thanks for sharing your life and adventures over the years. I really have enjoyed working with you in Cambodia and various service projects. I didn’t realize that we share a birthday month and year also. Mine is April 27, I will be 65 also.

    Keep the old man out and the Lord in.

    God bless.

    John

    John C. Walters

    704.756.7287

    jwa@walterscorp.com

    • Thanks, John. Enjoyed our time in Cambodia. That was indeed a fun adventure. And Happy Birthday!

  9. Happy Birthday O! What great ways to have God stretch you and also to challenge me and others to do more. Thanks for always being willing to Go Beyond! You are the man!

    • Thanks, H. Grateful for our friendship 🙂

  10. Very inspiring!

  11. Happy Birthday To Omar Garcia !!!


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