I once waited expectantly for specific birthdays, 18 and 21 come to mind. I was full of dreams and knew that with those birthdays, life would unfold, spread its wings and embrace me with its wonder and awe. Now I wonder where that 18 year old girl is and I look at upcoming birthdays with a bit of fear and trembling. Today, it seems like the world is obsessed with our biological age process, more than our growth.
You fill out a form for everything you do no matter how trivial, from online shopping to website subscriptions and they ask your age so that you can be dipped into the right demographic, sociopsychological-market appropriate bucket. Alas! I thought only God was counting the number of hairs on my head, but it appears everyone is!
So I wonder if God intended for us to pick one decade to shine our light and then spend all the rest searching for something more? The age thing is tricky in North American cultures because we’re either too young to know enough of importance, or too old to know much that matters, or somewhere in between waiting for that one moment when we actually could be brilliant.
Anyway, lest you think I’m a wee bit too sensitive about getting older, let me clear that up. YES! I’m a wee bit sensitive about getting older! Ever since the AARP people had the audacity to send me a card when I was just barely 50, I mean how did they know so fast? I hadn’t even agreed to being 50 and they showed up in my mailbox. Anyway, I feel like a giant wristwatch with a second hand ticking away with everyone watching to see just how long I can stay wound up.
Bless you if these things don’t bother you, but I need to remind myself and maybe a few of you as well, that you are NOT your age. You are the unique, inspiring, creative, sensitive, charming, life-giving, generous, important, kind, and loving you that you have been becoming all your life. That you is aging to perfection and has absolutely no time line attached. You are the celebration of life, the light on the candle, the one that needs to shine. The One who created you sees every moment of your life and likes what you’re becoming. You’re not a statistic, not an insurance report, nor a definition on the zodiac calendar. You’re timeless, ageless, amazing YOU!
The biophysical you is only one aspect of you, and hardly the most important measure of your status or value. Yet it remains that we’re conditioned or positioned to make assumptions based on the time charts. Thank goodness our ancestors didn’t decide to ship everybody over 50 off to a home. Thank goodness God used David as a boy because He saw a young shepherd with potential to be a king, and He sent Sarah home from the hospital with a brand new baby boy because her life was in His hands and He could create her anew any time He chose. Thank goodness, He still does those things for us.
George Washington Carver reflected, “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.”
Karl Menninger said, “attitudes are more important than facts.” So, the fact remains that you have birthdays, but the choice you get to make is how old you’ll be on any given one. You can be 25 turning 70 or 75 turning 40, it’s all up to you. Every breath you take gives you the privilege of being what you choose to be, the chance to become more of a blessing to those around you. A youthful heart pays better dividends than a thriving bank account. As you make deposits into a new day, remember that there is nothing better than having a heart of gold.
As it says in Proverbs 4, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Celebrate every day, setting aside the time keepers, and raising the bar on having an abundant life, grateful and blessed. This is the age of being authentically you and that’s what really matters.