You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old. George Burns
Is there a magic number when a person is considered old? How do you feel about aging? Do you fear aging or do you embrace the course of nature? I think it is all a matter of perspective. I know a young man in his late 20’s who says that when he turns 30, he will be old and thus dead inside. On the other hand, some years ago I met a woman in her 90’s who said she never felt a day over 30. Their perspective on that number is obviously very different.
I will admit that my 30th birthday was one that I struggled with. I approached the day with dread about being “so old”. I am going to throw my mom under the bus and blame that feeling on her. (Sorry Mom!) Throughout my childhood, on each of her birthdays, she would announce that she was turning 29, again. Without thinking about it, I convinced myself that no one would ever want to turn 30. A woman that I loved and respected didn’t want to, so why would I ever want to? But I did turn 30, and then 40, and then 50… And I am still aging. My perspective on that age has changed too.
Today, while serving lunch to an elderly woman through Meals on Wheels, she said:
“Don’t ever get old, it is miserable!”
It took every fiber of my being to not explode. You see, in the years since that 30th birthday, I have learned some important life lessons. I have learned that growing old is a privilege not a curse. I have learned to appreciate each grey hair as a gift given to me as I “get” to enjoy each passing day. I have learned that I “get” to age, a privilege that not everyone gets.
Yes, as we age, our bodies show the signs of living. But today, I will remember that the aches and pains of growing older are so much better than the aches and pains that some must suffer through at a much earlier age. I will remember that moving slower will be the result of the years that I got to run. I will remember that my memory getting worse is because I have been blessed with so many memories through the years. And I will continue to thank God for all he has given me, including more candles on my birthday cake.
As humans, so many of us fear aging. We fear the thought of losing our independence and our abilities. We complain about getting old, without thinking about how lucky we are to have long lives. Help me to appreciate each day as the gift that it is. And until the day we are welcomed to your kingdom, may we appreciate the life that you have given us here.
In Jesus name,