One 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?