There was a time when I could stretch out on the sofa, yap on the phone, map out my life and contemplate anything. I could do it for hours without uttering a yawn. These days, if I stretch out on the sofa, I go to sleep. If I want to get through a night of "Must-See TV", I'd better be sitting up. Or better yet, standing up and multi-tasking.
Forget the Tylenol PM. For me, there's no better sleep aid than a sofa and a DVD I've been dying to see.
When did this happen? When did I get so tired? When did I start-dare I say it-getting older?
I always thought I'd die young. I did this because I couldn't imagine myself getting older, but here I am-doing just that.
Now, at 40-something, I'm not ready for soft-food-only...and with my children yet to hit the high school years, I pray there are some miles left on my running shoes; however, there's no denying the truth: Father Time ain't moving backwards.
I love quotes and decided to find some related to aging, hoping they'd sum up the inevitable and wrap it in beauty...but being compared to wine locked in a dark cellar didn't do it for me. Having my life likened to sand slipping through an hourglass left me despondent. The worst-"The older the fiddle, the sweeter the tune"-was the absolute end. Never will I claim such desperate-words-of attempted-wisdom as my motto. It was time to find another website.
Much more uplifting were these:
"Fifty is the new 30." (Oprah)
"Live your life-forget your age." (Norman Vincent Peele)
"Age is mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter." (Mark Twain)
"Middle age is what begins ten years after whatever birthday you're celebrating." Though I'm not sure who said it, I love that one and have been applying that principle for several years now.
My favorite, though, is this: "Age doesn't matter...unless you're a cheese."
Believing the Bible to be the final authority on everything, I searched it as well. While pleased to read that many Bible writers complimented aging-its wisdom and understanding-I was looking for something more physical. And I wanted something strong, something like, "The older a woman gets, the more perfect she becomes, SO SAYEST THE LORD!!!"
There now, that would settle it, but my journey yielded nothing that firm, though it did lead me through rivers of advice on how to live a happy and contended life...and, if we know the secret to that, age really should come gracefully.
How we fight it, though! And honestly, there are no words that'll make us celebrate another laugh line or rejoice when we can't unfold from the Lotus position as smoothly as we could at 25. And while Proverbs 20:29 says that gray hair is the splendor of the old, I don't know a soul who peers hopefully in the mirror in search of it. We're as eager to turn gray as we are to be declared fiber-challenged.
Fact is, unless you're waiting to turn 16 or 21, getting older isn't on your wish list. But...disliking the aging process doesn't bother me. What bothers me is how people debilitate themselves with self-imposed limitations, just because they've passed a certain age marker.
"I'm too old to try that."
"Maybe if I was younger."
"I missed my chance."
Well, we're blessed that Laura Ingels Wilder didn't feel that way. Otherwise, we'd have missed the "Little House" books, which she started writing at age 65. None of us would have earned that sewing badge had Julliette Gordon Lowe been too tired to establish the Girl Scouts when she was 52. If Clara Barton had been planning her funeral at 62, the American Red Cross might not exist.
History might've been altered if Sjorne Smith avoided giving suffrage speeches, fearing nobody would care what a 54-year-old woman had to say. If being over 30 meant "sit down and rest", Mary Kay Ash would've never started her own corporation at 47 and Billie Letts wouldn't have published her first novel at 56. Aviator Jackie Cochran, at 47, would not have been the first woman to break the sound barrier.
What if the Unsinkable Molly Brown, at 45, hadn't felt up to helping fellow passengers escape the doomed Titantic?
The French Chef didn't instruct us to "save the liver" until she was teetering on 50, and Ma Barker was masterminding bank robberies while pushing 60. (Not the best example, but I found it interesting).
Another woman felt led to start a ministry, even though the Arch Bishop of Calcutta accused her of not being able to light a chapel candle much less a flock. Well, Mother Theresa didn't let him-or 40 birthday candles-stop her from answering a call to service.
Amazing what these, and many other women, accomplished-even though they weren't spring chickens.
They proved that life experience helps equip us to do what spring chickens can't do-FLY.
That's right. Spring chickens can't fly. Oh, there are exceptions, but most are like me as a chick-a-dee...I could squawk a good one and flitter about the barnyard, but I lacked the know-how to lift-off and sail over the coop.
While we may not be called to start a foundation or lead an army, we're blessed with gifts that allow us to serve. They needn't fade with age, as we learn from Psalms 92: 12-14:
"The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green."
As long as we continue to seek God and His will for our lives, we allow the Holy Spirit to operate in ways that bless others, fulfill our hearts and, above all, glorify our Lord. We'll never be counted among those Henry David Thoreau spoke of when he said, "None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm."
I think the Lord was working through the minds that created the old ad campaign for Loving Care hair color. Remember the slogan?
"You're not getting older...you're getting better."
It's true. I especially realize it when I look at old photographs, taken when I actually thought I looked good in permed hair and parachute pants.
Cringe. (Someone should have TOLD me!)
With the Loving Care slogan in mind, I'll celebrate my next birthday with a big hunk of cheese.
One that's been aged to perfection.
(c) Donna G. Morton 2004
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