It’s funny how your definition of “old” is a moving target as the years go by.
When I was a kid anyone over 30 was pretty much considered old. Around the time I turned 20 the standard for being over the hill had been pushed back to 40.
Now I’ve passed 40, and I’m thinking I better push that definition beyond 50 considering how fast the last decade seemed to fly by.
But how far? We can all agree that someone who is 70 is old, right?
Maybe not. I was talking to a friend who is around that age the other day, and he said he thought 70 was mighty old until he started getting there.
It seems like age is a state of mind for many of us.
I’ve seen senior citizens who have more energy and are more excited about life than people decades younger, and I’ve seen people much younger than me who are already acting like they’re ready for the retirement home.
Getting older hasn’t been what I expected. When I was younger I always thought that adults had everything figured out, and they knew exactly what they were doing in just about any situation.
That hasn’t been the case at all for me. I’ve had to learn a lot of things the hard way. I’m grateful that God blessed me with the ability to learn from my mistakes.
As a parent I sometimes find myself wondering if my own parents struggled as much as I sometimes do when trying to determine the right thing to do during some of the difficult moments that come with raising children. I suspect that they were probably learning as they went along just like we are now.
Hopefully any mistakes we make – and I’m sure there will be plenty – will be just as forgotten as any mistakes my own parents might have made when they were raising me.
The main thing I remember about growing up in their home is that I never doubted that I was loved or that they were there if I needed them. I hope my children can say the same when they’re grown.
I didn’t receive the wisdom I expected to magically appear as I got older, but I wouldn’t trade it for the fact that I continue to be excited about life and usually enjoy facing the challenges that come my way. I’ve been blessed with a good life, and I still believe that my best days are still ahead.
The only problem is that my body doesn’t always agree with my mind’s outlook.
If I would have known what my knees would feel like in my 40s, I would have taken better care of them. I often warn my kids not to jump off of things, which was one of my favorite things to do when I was younger. They of course ignore my advice.
I used to require very little sleep, and it’s amazing how much that has changed in recent years. These days a poor night’s sleep feels like a bad hangover.
There was a time when I could eat like a horse without any concern at all about gaining any weight. Those days are gone forever.
The last time I saw my eye doctor he almost seemed disappointed that I didn’t need bifocals yet. I was strangely proud of that fact, but I’ll be needing them soon enough.
Some of these changes that come with aging are unfortunate, but I’m starting to believe that they are more than offset by positive changes. When you start realizing that there’s only so much time ahead of you on this earth, you get a lot more selective about how you spend your time. It becomes a lot easier to leave bad things behind and to make more time for things that are truly important.
We all learn from experience, and as the years go by the things that matter most come into focus – even if we need bifocals to see them.