Ache in the gut this morning. Diverticulitis. Flares up when I eat something I shouldn’t (which is all too often). Time for fiber, fruits and whatnot.

So here we are, three weeks into 2006, and I’m at least a month behind. But wait. How can someone who’s semi-retired be behind? Damned if I know. But I owe one person a proposal on a video project, another bugged me last night about a print of one of my photos which I printed three weeks ago but apparently was also supposed to deliver to her framer.

“You’re not hungry enough,” she said.

Maybe not. With luck, one reaches a point in life where money is no longer a driving force for being, where success of some measure has been achieved and where the desire to go out and conquer the world is lost among the aches and pains of age.

An aging body with two bad knees and a bum hip loses the spring in its step. One only has to look at my waistline to realize hunger for food is no longer part of the equation. Every visit to the doctor brings out the usual warnings about blood pressure, blood surger and triglycerides.

But hunger for life involves more than just food. Contentment can reduce some of the other hungers. My wunderlust is sated, satisfied by years of travel. Been there, done that, shot the pictures. Gone too is my addiction to adrenaline. I’ve dodged bullets, nursed wounds and jumped out of perfectly good airplanes enough times to satisfy the lust for adventure.

I revisited those days recently while putting together a talk on past exploits. After the talk came the question:

“Do you miss it?”

No, I don’t. The knees that creak and pop whenever I try to do something simple like walk up stairs or the hip that aches whenever the weather changes tell me that chasing wars, politicians and news events is a young man’s game. The decisions that brought Amy and I to Floyd County were the right ones at the right time.

But I’m still a photographer who enjoys chasing high school athletes up and down football fields and basketball courts. I’m still a journalist who can write about the problems facing the county board of supervisors in The Floyd Press or the many failures of the Bush Administration in Capitol Hill Blue.

I may not be as hungry as I once was but I’m still at the table.