Today is my 51st birthday. I still haven’t gotten used to that number 5 being at the beginning of my age. I don’t feel 50-something. I’m told I don’t look 50-something. But I can’t escape the fact: I am now middle-aged.
But, whereas friends younger than I have married kids–and my eldest is still in high school and my youngest is only 10–I can get away with pretending I’m younger for just awhile longer.
But some facts just can’t be denied: the gray patches in my hair are getting more prevalent; in March I will have been married 22 years; I can remember the first moonwalk and watching it on a black and white TV. That puts me in a certain era, doesn’t it?
Getting older has never been my favorite activity, but ever since I turned 50, I’ve been trying to see the benefits. So to end my 51st year, I’m going to try to think of some of those now.
1. I am able to lead younger women and help bring up the next generation.
In my role as the lead 6th grade teacher at Trace Academy, I have the awesome responsibility of leading a young mom who serves as my co-teacher. I hope that some of my wisdom helps her along the way, though she is more than capable of carrying on herself with great maturity. Her children are still very young, so I can help shepherd her through some of the turmoil of mothering young children and having responsibilities at Trace at the same time.
2. I can take things that are thrown at me with more equilibrium, because I have seen God’s faithfulness through many years.
I trusted Christ to lead my life when I was 14 years old. If you do the math, which I try to avoid at nearly every opportunity, that means that I have been walking with Jesus longer than many of the people I hang out with lately have even been alive. He has brought me through the pain of having an alcoholic father, the trial of infertility and the heartbreak of losing three babies before they were born, and the grief of losing both of my parents 16 months apart. I have seen His faithfulness through 27 years of fulltime ministry and almost 22 years of marriage. I can attest to His faithfulness. He is good all the time.
3. I have seen a lot of changes in the world and can give a perspective to the younger generation that they won’t get from their peers.
My children often say to me, “Where do you come up with all these songs?” I frequently burst out with lyrics pertaining to something they just said, and they marvel at my repertoire. I can tell them about these big, black circular things that held songs and the days when phones had dials. I love my gadgets and enjoy keeping up with new technology, but I also find pleasure in remembering making it all the way through college as an English major with only a manual typewriter on which to write my volumes of papers. Ah, those were the days.
4. I can attest to the fact that getting older really does mean getting better.
As I watch my mother-in-law always striving to learn new things and stay healthy as she nears her 70th birthday, I can be inspired to never get lazy or let myself go just because it’s so much harder to get into shape as I age. It’s not easy, I admit, and things hurt a lot more often than they did when I was younger, but I refuse to be that decrepit old woman hobbling along. And I’ve already told my husband–who happens to be 3 years younger than I am–that he is not allowed to be a curmudgeon. We’re going to be the fun grandparents who offer to babysit, if we’re given the privilege of living close to our grandkids. Of course, by the time any of my kids get married and have kids, I may be well into my 60s, but if 50 is the new 30, I’ll just be in my mid-40s then, right?
So I’m not getting older, I’m getting better; better at loving, better at learning, better at living for Jesus and serving others. Every year is a gift given to me by my heavenly Father. I won’t cringe at being 50-something anymore.
Well, maybe only a little.
Thankful today for:
731. all the birthday greetings
732. free Starbucks peppermint mocha
733. Giovanni’s pizza
734. only a few patches of gray
735. clean movies to watch with the kids
736. celebrating Morgan’s Disney’s Dreamer and Doer award Friday
737. gift cards
738. Christmas cash
739. free lunch for good grades
740. Justin’s upcoming job interview
741. failures that bring lessons
My goal was to get to 1,000 things to be thankful for by the end of the year. I’m not sure I’m going to make it. But it hasn’t been a full calendar year, since I started my list on February 7, I’m giving myself grace to finish my 1,000 list on February 6, 2013. So stay with me. Let’s see what God has in store for us in the new year. Thanks for stopping by. I’d love to hear some things that you’ve been thankful for this year.