A New View of Aging
One of the things I catch myself saying when I purchase some major item is “this is probably the last time I’ll be buying something like this”. A statement like this sort of betrays a certain resignation that time is limited and I am limited in experiencing future joys. When this thought invades my mind, I have a certain melancholy feeling. However, when I look at something and say “that will be a new experience, I should try it”, there is an immediate excitement that touches my soul. It takes a lot of trust in God to make it through a life time. There are many people who fear aging and think it is a time they will be bored, useless or ill. Old age is not necessarily that way for most people. I would say a majority of seniors at or beyond retirement have a life that is definitely worth living.
Contrary to popular opinion, old age doesn’t bring many surprises. People who are psychologically well adjusted in middle age tend to be well adjusted seniors. In fact, there is a certain joy which comes with aging. It is no longer necessary to strive for personal recognition. These individuals have earned a chance to relax, to savor life and do some things they’ve always wanted to do. Some have created a “bucket list” of new things to experience in their later years.
“Enduring to the end” as God instructed, does not imply laying back and doing nothing. It does mean setting new goals, working at new tasks, to contribute insight, prospective and experience. People who are aging should not be saying they are doing things for the last time but instead, for the first time. If we keep looking to do things for the first time, regardless of age, we will have an effective antidote against growing old.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you age. 1. Make plans, long range, short range, plans for today and tomorrow. 2. Remember to exercise and make sure you exercise your heart as well as the body. Keep falling in love. 3. As you age, become aware of how little you know and, if you do, it will help you keep a child’s sense of wonder. That wonder, however, will be tempered with increased powers of judgment and discrimination.
Your faith in God is necessary to enrich your life and help you through the stresses of everyday living, no matter what age you are. If we have developed a faith in God, we are more likely to have faith in others, and more importantly, in ourselves. Faith in ourselves gives us peace and assurance that we can and will overcome difficulties and reach our goals. The people who leave this earth with a thousand unfilled dreams are probably the happiest older people during their later years. They are controlled not by the myths of aging, but by the realities of living.
Pastor Hans Lillejord