Growing old is a good thing

In considering this post, my thought ran to how God says we are to number our days . . . So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. (Psalm 90:12) I realise that God would not want me to waste His gift of time, so I seek to discover the meaning of living and learning as a person made in God’s image. And I also try to keep things simple when possible.

Numbering our days fits into the category of living. When a young person thinks on this things, an infinite number of days seems available. But for an older person like myself, I can easily think back to the day when my father took his last breath, and realise how young he was when he passed on. Likewise, I can think of how old my mother was when she died compared to my current age.

This past couple of weeks I started pulling out the old photo albums with the intention of looking through all of them once again. I haven’t done it since the death of my mother. I dread to think what I might feel staring at those old photographs. There are pictures of my parents in the 60s and 70s, my mother looking incredibly elegant; my father exceptionally dashing and strong. There are pictures of me as a toddler, and on through the awkward years, moving into college, and into graduate school, which, frankly, still counted as the awkward years. 😉

Looking at my old photographs I thought of myself as a fine wine. 😉 I mean, like the vast majority of women, I believe that I get better with age. 😉 One glance through these photo albums seems to confirm it. What was I thinking with that shoulder-padded dress and that frizzy hair? That high waisted-jeans? I know that it was the 1980s, but still, shouldn’t I have known better? 🙂

I always welcome aging with grace. I celebrate my age, and I am realistic about aging. Every time I see the white hair, fine lines and sagging lids, though it doesn’t sit well with me, I just thank the Lord that He has given me a good health and allowed me to see myself growing old. I welcome each new year, and each birthday for that matter, with the knowledge that as time passes, I have grown more comfortable in my skin. Although I can never quite rid myself of the thought that if I get back to my old size, that is US size zero, I’d look much better. 😉

I looked at some of my photos from fifteen years ago and it was the ‘skinny years’ — I cheerfully told myself. 😉 Although I looked very thin then, I can’t honestly say anything else in my life was different. Or better.

Age has seen me leave behind the need to prove myself to others, and to please other people. It does no longer bother me when someone dislikes me. Although I strive to be more friendly, more understanding, more considerate and accepting of others, it is fine for people to dislike me. I may be better at this age, but I humbly say that I am not perfect.

I now say no to parties or invite to any event where I don’t know anyone. I don’t care if I miss out. I honestly prefer to miss out. Walking into a room filled with people I vaguely know, and being forced to make small and shallow talk, fills me with so much trepidation. Curling up in bed with a good book, a pen and a notepad is always the preferable alternative. I used to say yes a lot, when I meant no. I now say, ‘Let me think about it and I’ll send you a text or email in the next day or two.’ And then I say no.

I have learned that Japanese or Chinese takeaways, while delicious, and very easy, are never as good as a home-cooked meal. And that cups of tea will not make the ‘homesickness’ go away completely, but they will help. I have learned that sometimes there are days when I do not want to get out of bed and see anyone but I still have to force myself out and meet people. But sometimes on those days it is far better for me to stay in bed, with a book or two, than force myself out where I am more likely to frighten whoever I meet.

I spent years looking for the better jeans, the better facial cream, the better employer; I spent years trying to do something — anything — that would make everything in my life better. And in the last nine years, since my mother was diagnosed with terminal illness and following her death, I have finally learned that contentment is not getting what you want, but wanting what you have got.

I am a little over four years away from the age my father died. Three hundred sixty-five days in a year times four equals one thousand four hundred and sixty days. And it got me thinking — how does a Christian live those days knowing God imprinted His image into their being? How do we bring Him the glory He deserves by our daily living choices?

Photo: M&S