One minute you’re hanging by your knees from your neighbors’ swing set, and the next minute you’re on the ground and your arm is hurting a whole lot more than your average bumped elbow or skinned knee.

“Better go home and show your mom,” the neighbor kids tell you, so you do, and her answer, which is not surprising to you, is, “I’m sure it will feel all better in the morning.”

But it doesn’t. And it doesn’t feel better the next morning either, or the morning after that. So your mom finally takes you to the doctor and he says you’ve got a fractured wrist. Just a hairline fracture, he calls it, as he washes up and starts wrapping your arm like he’s doing a papier maché project at school. You feel pretty special, until he tells you the bad news: no swimming for six weeks.

Six weeks?! Is he kidding? No, apparently not. Doesn’t he know it’s summertime, and you may be only seven, but you’re on the swim team? Yes, he does know it’s summertime, and he commends you for being on the team. But, he says, this is what you have to do when you’ve got a broken wrist.

Fast forward sixty years, and you’re on the storied Spider Meadow Trail in the Glacier Peak Wilderness, with a pack on your back. You’re feeling pretty good, because the hike up went well, you and your husband spent a lovely June night in the meadow, watching the long light fade over the mountains, and now you’re on your way back down to the trailhead. All the hard work of the hike is behind you. And then suddenly you’re on the ground. Tripped by a root. This time, it was your knee, not your wrist, that took the brunt of the fall.

But like your mother before you, you’re sure it’ll be fine. Probably just a big, ugly bruise. So off you go, ignoring—ignoring—ignoring—as, with each passing day, your knee seems to be getting more sore instead of less sore. Could it be because you’re continuing to hike? The next day, and the day after that? Did you learn nothing at all from Dr. Douglas, who put a cast on your arm and refused to take it off for six weeks?

We don’t want to believe that we’re vulnerable. Mortal. Aging. Even at seven, I was aging. My limbs were lengthening—aka aging—and Dr. Douglas knew it was important to close that hairline fracture so that my right forearm would grow straight and true: so that someday, sixty years hence, I would still be doing the things I love to do, like hiking and swimming.

At 67, if I’m going to hike, I’m going to trip and fall now and then. Just as I have done in every previous decade of my hiking life. But the stakes of a fall are a bit higher now. I have to pay attention. I don’t like it (hence the ignoring), but I get it.

Last Thursday night, Joe Biden fell hard. He’s not denying that. But he is ignoring the consequences, and the stakes are so high I’m not even sure whether he should keep hiking or get off the trail right now.

I’ve been reading the news and the pundits and the newsletters, and listening to friends, and I still don’t know what to think. My heart is torn. I wish I could time-travel back to the Howard Stern interview and stop the clock there. Remember that Joe Biden? So affable and relaxed, yet sharp and on point?

It doesn’t help that we’re living in an age of flagrant ageism. Wisdom, experience, institutional knowledge—all the fine qualities that older people have to offer—are not exactly prized in 21st Century America. One astute friend told me she thinks ageism will increase, not decrease, if Biden insists on staying in the race. That may sound paradoxical, but her point is: Biden would be showing the wisdom that comes with age by graciously bowing out now. He would set an excellent example for young people: Here’s how to pass the torch. I will do everything in my power to help this younger candidate get elected, and I will then contribute my wisdom and knowledge to that next president.

This same friend, along with many pundits, also believes Biden will lose to Donald Trump, and that alone makes it imperative for him to step down.

After Thursday night, I can see why people believe Biden will lose. But I can also see why others believe that any other candidate might have a greater chance of losing. I remain torn. But I’m leaning towards hoping Biden will pass the torch.

I wish it could be as clear as the lesson Dr. Douglas taught me: Sometimes you can’t just think about this summer. You have to look far into the future, and do the hard thing.