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Let Go of the Number
by Lisa Kartos
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Different issues regarding age continue to pop up in our culture. I find that interesting, since age is nearly meant to be a tool for measurement. Measurement of what? Simply the number of days you have spent on this earth. That's it and that's all.

So why do we put so much more on age? Age is a state of mind, age is a mentality masked by a number; age is not a ticking time-bomb, a reason to count off love, a reason to furiously start searching for gray hairs ("I'm turning 40! I must have a gray hair!!"), or to convince yourself of no longer trying in life.

Perhaps we think age is a measly way to control life ourselves. If you say you want to be married by 25 and get married at 25, you congratulate yourself for "making it happen" just the way you planned. But what if your soulmate was to come along at age 26...yes, you hit your age 25 marriage mark, but maybe you forced something to happen simply to adhere to a timeline. What if it would've worked out better if it wasn't in your narrow-minded timeline? Clearly, planning according to age is limiting. There is a larger landscape to your life that you just can't see from where you stand.
Or take an athletic pursuit. It seems as though age has to play some sort of a factor, because at some point, your body will physically begin to break down, seemingly lessening success within physical pursuits. The question I pose is, do you know exactly when your body will begin to break down? We constantly hear of men and women exceeding expectations of their age in physical activities. Their mental age, state-of-mind age, trumps their physical age. And stressing about not hitting a certain mark by a certain age, ironically, will only wear your body out faster, pulling your goal further away.
Racing these deadlines we set for ourselves is foolish. Working hard and diligently for our goals as time inevitably ticks on-definitely anything but foolish. But setting them against this backdrop of time and age is limiting your potential, putting a cap on your mental stamina and power.
To illustrate, as each day goes on, you begin to grow tired by evening/nighttime. This is because your body and mind are becoming prepared for the upcoming rest and sleep. You anticipate this in help for yourself, to ensure your body will be ready to rest when the time comes. Or, say you really have to empty your bladder. You've been holding it for the last hour of the car ride and you're scurrying up to your bathroom finally about to get relief. Ever notice, its when you are closest to getting to the bathroom, that belt buckle just won't loosen, that the urge is the greatest? Your mind is telling your body that the time is nearly here, and the body responds and begins to relax the bladder muscle in preparation. Likewise, if your mind is continually telling your body and soul, 'hurry up, you only have 3 more years to get this done', your body will pace itself out for just that, and you might just get your wish of early resignation before you've even reached your potential. Same goes for creative pursuits, business pursuits, or any goal, really. Life is unpredictable, anything can happen at any age, so let go of the number.
Death is another topic foolishly and closely associated with age in our culture. Why we think we can count out the number of days or months or years left in somebody's life is welllll beyond me. Life expectancy rates are merely averages (and again very limiting of your potential), so, arrogantly walking around, assuming you have 10-20-70 years left on this earth is almost funny, but not at all. Any of us could be struck dead today or tomorrow. Jesus could come back today or tomorrow. Your husband could be taken from you today or tomorrow. Never assume you think you know something about age. Make the most of today, this day, before it's gone. Anything that is unsettled in your soul, shouldn't be casually "slept on" until morning. Because you might not wake up. Or on the other side, believing your purpose on earth is over before your actual time is up...equally as arrogant. I love the profound quote, "If you have a pulse, you have a purpose".
And, also, in relationships. Age in relationships is practically a non-issue (unless of course it is a legal issue). No one can know what happens between two people in a relationship except the two people in the relationship. So stop gossiping about it. You are allowed care or concern, but only if it is genuine, not a manipulation merely masked by care. My parents are 14 years apart in this so-called "age" number, and have taken better care of each other in their 35 years together than I could only aspire to in my young marriage.
Oh, and don't even get me started on the predicted times of the world's end...

"There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death." Proverbs 14:12
Time is no exception. Let go of the number, and embrace the unknowingness of it all. You'll find it freeing.

Read more articles by Lisa Kartos or search for other articles by topic below.

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