Age creeps up on us, in stealth… silently, so much faster than we expect. And those who know the truth tell us often… Time is fleeting… Life is too short to hold a grudge… They won’t be this age forever—enjoy them while you can…
But we don’t believe them.
In the busy-ness of family life, work, church, car-pooling and piano lessons and football practice (or building careers and traveling the globe if you’re single), the years speed by, unnoticed.
Then, before we realize it, the half-century mark is on this year’s calendar—the big 50! Maybe you’re beyond that, still “49 and holding.” Or your favorite new phrase is, “Ya know, 60 is the new 50.”
Suddenly, there are more memories behind us than future plans in front of us. And that’s when we finally get it.
Of course, there were moments when time hinted at its passing. Maybe we recognized them for what they were… but the changes were so small, barely evident, easily covered up (thanks to L’Oreale).
Yet, in those rare instances of taking the time to reflect, I began to see it. In everyone else.
When my babies took their first steps, started reading, sat behind the wheel, posed for photos in cap and gown, and tried on Grandma’s wedding dress…
When cutting the Preacher’s hair didn’t take as long, wasn’t as thick between my fingers as it used to be…
When shopping with my mom, and halfway through the parking lot I realized she wasn’t beside me. I had to stop, turn around and walk back to meet her, to slow my steps in keeping up with hers…
When yanking those gray hairs right out of my scalp—then deciding I need all those hairs, no matter what color they are!
For we are aliens and pilgrims before You, as were all our fathers; our days on earth are as a shadow, and without hope (or expectation of remaining). – I Chronicles 29:15
I remember as a girl lying on the floor looking through my parents’ wedding album, dreaming of the day when I’d be the one walking down the aisle, wearing yards and yards of lace.
That day has come and gone… now my daughter is the one looking through wedding photos, and taking part in her friends’ weddings. (Although both our kiddos are grown, neither is married yet. But I know those days are coming. And I’ll be the one carrying handfuls of Kleenex!)
Today I’m older than my parents and grandparents were when their kids said, I do. Don’t ask me how that happened, because I have no idea. But happen, it did, and there’s nothing I can do to change it.
I also remember being younger, talking with friends and saying something like, “Twenty years ago when I was a kid I…” Then one day I said, “Twenty years ago when I was—WAIT! Twenty years ago I wasn’t a kid—I was a wife and mom, and I had kids! When did that happen?!”
Someone said, “Growing older is like boarding an airplane in a storm—once you get on, you can’t get off.”
So… now that age has crept up on us, what do we do?
We can’t press a button on the alarm clock to reverse the hours.
Can’t retrieve old weekly planner pages, hoping that by putting them back into the three-ring binder and flipping them backwards, we’ll be given another shot at months and years gone by. Nor can we sit in a corner, completely still, close our eyes and wish really hard for time to slow down… allowing us to catch up, finish all those To-Do lists, make more happy memories, take more risks, erase all those regrets…
Navigating our way through puberty, young adulthood, womanhood, marriage, motherhood, parenting (then parenting teens!), and helping our babies navigate their way through the early years of their lives was a monstrous challenge. Who will help us navigate our way through these older years?
More than ever I’ve become acutely aware of this one thing: every day is new. I’ve never been this old before, as old as I am right now, today. Aging is my newest and latest adventure in territory completely unchartered. My responses, my attitudes, my outlook, will all serve as an example to women younger than me. I can live these years gracefully. Or I can spend them grudgingly.
It’s also the last leg of the journey, ushering me to eternity’s gates, to a land where we’re never grow old. While I don’t know how long this adventure will last, I want to live it well. Don’t you?
Grow old with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made. Our times are in His hands, who saith, ‘A whole I planned, youth shows but half.’ Trust God: See all, nor be afraid! – Robert Browning