Age fascinates me. Always has. And this fascination has progressed and been molded into different thoughts, realizations and fears as I have gotten older.
I’m 43 years old, with 44 fast approaching. In fact I’m so close to 44, I have already started to round myself up. It’s a weird habit that I started years ago. When I was 19, I couldn’t wait to be 20, so after January (my birthday month is September), I told myself and anyone who inquired about my age, that I was 20. I have rounded myself up every year since.
Although, I think I have reached the point where I really should be rounding myself down. Who wants to be 44? I know, I know, I’ve heard the arguments for age progression. Statements like “I have earned every wrinkle on my face” or “the pain in my knees are my battle scars” or better yet “I’m so much wiser now than when I was in my 20s”. And you know what, as true as those statements may be, at the end of the day, getting older is hard.
Well, at least it’s hard when you only look at it from a superficial and worldly viewpoint. And that’s exactly the way I was viewing it for most of my life.
In my late 30s I grew my hair out long. I looked ridiculous, but it was my way of not accepting (and rebelling against) the fact I was closing in on 40. When I see pictures of my hair that long now, I think “idiot”. But at the time, I thought I was much cooler than other people my age.
Since having turned the tide into my 40s, I have found the only way to age and be ok with age, is to simply accept it and not try to fight it. Wanting to be young forever, quite simply, is a very dangerous game to play. Perceptions and priorities become out of alignment. People become trapped in the past. So, I won’t be growing my hair long again, and I won’t be putting ‘Just For Men’ hair color on it either. And just for the record, I’m a good candidate for covering up some gray.
And you know, beyond the vanity of one’s appearance, and the pains and perceptions of age, there is something much deeper to consider.
Being nearly 44, I’m middle aged. And being in the middle has always been an awkward place for me. It’s like being halfway through a week’s vacation. You know, when a vacation starts on Saturday, and suddenly it’s Wednesday. You start to think how the vacation is halfway over. And then other thoughts come to mind, like have I done enough with my vacation? What else can I do before it’s over? Well, oddly enough, I’m at the center point of my vacation (life) and I’m considering these same types of decisions.
As my clocks ticks on, my thoughts have been turning towards my faith and God, and not about bucket lists or other superficial things I think I need to do before I die. Sure, some fun things are cool to do (and often necessary while navigating the stresses of life), but these things shouldn’t be our goal.
Part of getting older is realizing that life is incredibly short and that God asks many things from us. For me, it’s a constant attempt to be humble, charitable and to remove all the vain and needless distractions, so I can focus on a closer relationship with Him. It’s a constant attempt (and often a struggle) to become less of a worldly person, and more of a spiritual person.
As I’ve gotten older, what used to be important or first to me is simply no longer important, and certainly not first. Things like job titles, status symbols, friends who aren’t really your friends, and possessions, which often end up possessing you.
Whether you’re 20, 40, 60 or 80, it’s never too late to think and pray about what is truly important. And when you are old (by the grace of God), and you’re looking back on your life, you won’t be reflecting on your past work accomplishments, BMWs, or other vainglories. You’ll most likely remember the times spent with friends, family and those things that reminded you to be grateful for all of God’s blessings. At least that’s what I want to reflect back on.
So yes, here I sit, middle-aged, with lots of things to accomplish before my clock on this earth stops ticking. Not the things that I wanted 20 or even 10 years ago, but the things God has shown me that I now need.
Age is truly fascinating.
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