When you're young and strong you can get up and laugh at bit after some of the falls but it gets harder to get up, and much harder to laugh it off when you get older and more brittle. I stay on the road, and don't take many risks when riding now, and I like keeping the rubber on the ground.
I often tell people that riding makes 30 or 40 years disappear, at least as long as I am moving along. That's part of what I love about riding. The other day I took off for a mostly all day ride. The weather was perfect with blue skies and temps in the mid 70's as I headed from Rockford, IL south along the Rock River and then west to the Mississippi. From almost the moment I started this ride, I felt far younger than my real 76 years, and the only real signs of my true age were when I stopped for gas and felt the bones and muscles remind me that after sitting on the bike a few hours I was not as limber as when I started, and when I was ready to call it quits for the day after about 4 hours in the saddle and another hour or so to go to get home. But for most of the day I felt like like I was 30 again, it felt great.
But reality has a way of intruding into nostalgia. Just a few years ago, when I should have known better, I had a tip over at a gas station with my then Triumph Thunderbird. The side stand had hit a hole in the pavement, which I did not see, and the 750 pound bike ended up on its side. In my younger days I would have been able to lift the bike up by the handlebars and just been ticked off at the scratches I had just added to the bike, but at 72 at the time I reacted with adrenaline rather than brains and ended up righting the bike but tearing my shoulder rotator cuff in the process. I know that a fall at this age would likely end my riding at least for the season, as recovery at 76 is not what recovery was at a much younger and fitter age. So dirt riding is not even in the back of my mind, and I avoid even dirt roads and gravel like avoiding the plague. And fortunately my Goldwing, while heavy, is very forgiving, with "crash" bars that can let a tip over be not too big a deal and not cause any damage to the bike at all should it occur. And resting on the crash bars, picking the bike up (the right way) is do-able even at my age.