Sunday, March 7, 2010

The beauty of aging

There is something wonderful about growing older. However, we may not always remember that.

Recently, I turned 45, and for whatever reason, this birthday has caused me to reflect on my mortality more than usual. I guess this happens to all of us at some point.

Usually, this happens to a person when he advances to another age plateau. For example, being 29 years old may not be a big deal to somebody, but when a person turns 30, it almost demands that time be set aside for personal reflection. The same goes when a person turns 40 and so forth.

As I have aged, it has not unfolded like that. The last time I experienced this was when I turned 36. I have no idea why turning 36 would impact my emotions, but maybe these bouts of reflection are more arbitrary than I realize.

As for this recent birthday, I literally am having trouble believing I am 45. Am I in denial? Am I just whining? I don't think so.

I think this is just a big part of the cycle of life. And the older a person gets, the faster the cycles go by.

When we are children, we believe we have all the time in the world. Time doesn't fly then, it crawls. Just watch any child waiting for Christmas to come and it is easy to see that time cannot pass fast enough for them.

Then, we become an adult. Life really fires up its engine here. Whether a person goes to college or begins a career, it is a time when most of us begin enjoying independence and freedom.

At this point, it is fun, but as we all know, time flies when we are having fun. We get to enjoy independence without a lot of the responsibilities of adulthood.

Of course, that soon changes. People get married and start a family. Careers of varying success start to unfold. Mortgages have to be paid and long-term financial planning is a must.

As these responsibilities pile up, we find ourselves literally sprinting through each day just to make sure we keep it all together. Time is still flying, but not like it was when we first became an adult. Many times, we find ourselves sitting on our couches on Friday night wondering where the last week went.

When we are sitting on that couch, we begin to realize that we really do not have all the time in the world. The dreams we always thought we would fulfill are not any closer than they were 20 years ago. The clock is ticking, and we wonder where all the time went.

However, there is a lot of beauty regarding growing older. Despite all the things I just described, there is no way I would want to go back and be young again. I enjoyed my youth and got to experience as much wild, animal luxury as the next person.

Still, I would not want to do it again. Even when I notice more gray hair appearing, I would not turn back the clock. I like my gray hair. I earned every one of them.

If I have been reminded of anything during all this personal reflection lately, it is that our physical lives will end. However, spiritually speaking, our time during our physical life is relatively brief within the context of eternity. Bodies fail but the soul lives on.

So, instead of focusing on what has already happened, maybe I should be looking forward to what is to come.

That sounds like a good idea.


Anonymous said...

I know what you mean, and was feeling pretty okay with being 46, until the other day my lovely wife referred to my age not as 46, but "just four years away from 50."


Mister Jimmy said...

Lookee, I got no TeeVee, no cable, no internet and I barely got a phone. No wife, no dog nor cat and I'll be sixty in November. That's had me thinking I tell ya what! But mainly I've been concerned about not having no TeeVee!

Chris said...

You know, you may be better off with no TeeVee. But then again, you are missing re-runs of 'Mannix.' Better get that fixed.