New Year — Age (Part 3)

coffee9.jpgOne thing is for sure.  When you begin a new year, you can be sure that if you live throughout the year you will eventually experience another birthday.  A birthday IS coming.  Now what does that mean?  What does it mean to be one year older?  You might say that age really doesn’t matter.  However, you then realize that you will be:

  • 30 years old
  • 40 years old
  • 50 years old
  • 60 years old
  • 70 years old
  • 80 years old

Perhaps you find it amazing that you are really as old as you are.  Yet, is this a bad thing?  Does it have to be depressing to get older? 

Last year on July 20, I had a birthday.  I turned 54 years old.  This year, should I live through July, I will turn 55 years old.  What does that really mean?  

For some of us, age is depressing.  "I can’t believe that I am about to turn ____!"  I am not sure why some of us feel that way.  Perhaps one reason is due to the cultural value placed on youth.  This may especially be true for women.  Many women have observed that as a man gets older, he appears more "distinguished" to many.  Meanwhile, as a woman gets older, she may feel devalued and a loss of worth.

Perhaps another reason why many of us become depressed and discouraged about our age is because we stopped growing a long time ago.  I am amazed at the number of people in their mid/late thirties and forties who have shut down at an early age.  Some of these people have stopped thinking and growing.  Their rut becomes deep as they park their bodies, night after night, in front of the television.  Life consists of coming home, eating dinner, watching television and then dozing off.

Meanwhile, I continue to encounter some amazing and encouraging people in their 70s and 80s who have remained fully alive!  Some of these people think, dream, read, travel, and grow.  Some of these people continue to learn and grow in their relationship with God.  I have a friend in his mid-80s who often approaches me during the week and asks for book recommendations.  Last Sunday, I visited with a man in his early 70s who teared up as he spoke of his relationship with the Lord and how wonderful it was.  These kinds of people inspire and encourage me.  They have given me a different view of aging.

Do I really want to be remembered as someone who spent decades complaining about getting old?  Do I want to be remembered as the person who behaved as if aging was a downhill slide?  Do I want to wake up every morning believing that the best days of my life have already happened?

I want to be remembered as a person who believed that REAL life is in Jesus — regardless of my physical age.  I have the capacity through him to fully live whether I am 25 or 75 — or 54. 

What do you think?  Do you find the cultural view of age overwhelming at times?  How would you like to live this year? 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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9 thoughts on “New Year — Age (Part 3)

  1. Jim
    What wonderful reflections. So much resonates with me. Your thoughts concerning the TV is just the reason we have refused to have cable and a nice TV. Sometimes we have to protect ourselves from ourselves 🙂

  2. Thank you so much for these thoughts.  I am so greatful for the "older, wiser" Christians who have fed into my life, especially over this past year–the retirees who took the time to answer stupid question after stupid question, the folks at church who were nice to me even when I was not easy to get along with.  It is amazing what God does with the people who faithfully serve and follow and grow in Him–and I think that often times they might not even know what a difference their faithful example makes to  bumbling, confused people like me!  

  3. This is very interesting to me since I turned 62 a week ago and was feeling a little depressed.  The depression comes from still remembering being 6 years old and playing jacks on the floor of our military base home like it was just yesterday.  Yet when I walk by a mirror I see my mom’s reflection.  It jolts me to the reminder that God has a different plan for me now and that’s not depressing.  I can still play jacks but my bigger purpose in life has grown and that’s a good thing.

  4. Yes Jim, Thanks! I concur. It does make one think also more and more about, as well as more and more realistically about our mortality, which is healthy as well. But I have found people as you describe: two come to mind- who are inspiring examples this way, and another who was like that to the end.
    But yes, it seems to be all about being young in a way that is more about the values of our culture than the values of the kingdom of God in Jesus,

  5. Brad,Thanks very much.  I always appreciate your comments.  I respect the decision you have made.  It certainly is a challenge for many of us. 

  6. The Walk,Thanks for this comment.  I appreciate the graciousness of your words.  I suspect that spirit is picked up by some of these people with whom you have had these conversations.  Hope you will comment again.

  7. Gail,I relate to what you are saying.  Time is amazing.  I, too, can recall with such clarity moments that happened decades ago.  Days can seem so long and then some decades seem so short (as I reflect on a few of these).  Amazing…

  8. Hi Ted,Seems like so many of us are allowing the culture to define what it means to grow older and what it means to live.  I just think that the kingdom view is not only more accurate, it is a more attractive view of life.

  9. Good insight. Good article. I am not too sure how much we can blame our culture for defining us. We aren’t victims.
    For some people it isn’t the Zeitgeist. It’s the family or how they grew up and the baggage they carry or could carry. For some of us we need to make the decision each and every day to live as you describe and to live as God would have us live.
    Again great article. Encouraging and spot on.