Friday, February 08, 2008

Age Is Only A Number, Right?

I have discovered that aging isn't all it is cracked up to be. Really. And if I had my druthers, I'd prefer to gain the wisdom of experience another way. But it seems that's not exactly an option. We're stuck with birthdays, such as they are. So despite the fact that in my mind I'm still a young, vibrant 25, I know that my body and my experiences tell me I'm much, much older. And getting older, in general, isn't very pleasant.

So, in my ongoing efforts to play the "Glad" game and find something wonderful in everything, I've decided to put my experiences to work. I'm going to overlook the new sags, aches and pains, and the impact all of that has on how I feel about my body, that seem to come weekly in my ever-aging self. I'm going to look past the pages on the calendar that tell me, without flinching or even caring, that I'm a year older. I'm going to forget that I've been through a few personal wars and back that seem to have added even more years to my life, and I'm going to conveniently disassociate myself from the realities of heading towards the half-century mark that means I'm really no longer 'young' but only perhaps 'young at heart'. Instead, I'm going to concentrate on figuring out the good in aging. After all, there has to be some, right?

So let's see... what might those be? I smile as I realize that one of the most wonderful things about aging is that you really realize just how much the small things that annoy us really don't matter in the great scheme of things. You are able to pick and choose your battles with much more clarity as we realize that we no longer need to prove anything to anyone but ourselves. You can let the little things just roll right off your back and know that it really won't matter next week, tomorrow or even by nightfall today. This, in and of itself, is a wonderfully freeing thing. If only we could learn this much earlier in our lives. Perhaps our children would come out differently. And perhaps our lives might have been a bit less bumpy along the way.

I have also come to realize that the wisdom that comes with having lived more life than your younger contemporaries means that you just know more about people, life and how things work in general. It means you can pick and choose your friends much more easily because you know more about people and how their personalities, both shown and hidden, may impact your life enabling you to pick those people who will add a joyful dimension rather than hinder it. And that those friends who do have meaning in your life are some of the most precious parts of your life. It means you can say "No" more often, knowing that your life will be more peaceful without having to live up to the expectation of others. It means that you can smile when other folks try to tell you how to live your life knowing that they really have no idea what your dreams and goals are, and that's okay. You can just walk away without the guilt of wondering if you're doing something right or wrong according to them following you home. It means that you can put your time and effort in to things that really count for you and your family, and not feel guilty about it because you realize that raising a stable, loving family who knows that the Lord is the core of their being and that you love them no matter what, makes a bigger contribution to the 'greater good' than anything else you can do. And you realize that all of these things mean more than recapturing your youth ever could.

Yes, aging definitely has some value. And today, as I move forward in the numbers game one more year, I'm going to work hard to remember that all of the good things that have come with aging means so much more to me as a person than being 25, even if it is only in my mind. :)

Happy Birthday to the older, much wiser Me!!!

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