May is my birthday month. I turned 26 this year, officially over the threshold towards thirty.
I know, I know. I’m still so young. But I’ve been thinking a lot about getting older.
My mom just celebrated the 29th anniversary of her 29th birthday (her words!), and while I’m so thankful to still have both of my parents, it’s strange watching them get older. Maybe you get that; it’s hard to confront the fact that your parents are not the forever-forty beings you always imagined them to be.
Plus, it’s another reminder that you are not as young as you used to be. And there’s no stopping the process.
The gray hairs, the wrinkles, the slowing down — they’re part of the deal. You know they’re coming, it’s just a matter of when. The irony in it all is that you spend so much of your young life trying to appear older, and then you spend so much time as an adult trying to appear younger. Not to mention, your understanding of life and how to live usually improves with age, while your physical abilities to actually get out there and live it decline.
Maybe that’s why so many people start dreading their birthdays after a certain age. If only I had a dollar for every time an elder joked, “Don’t get old, it’s terrible.”
No doubt, getting older is a complicated thing.
There are no members’ jackets or secret handshakes, but the years will bring new knowledge, new lessons, new joys, and new successes. Because if we’re not getting older, what’s the alternative?
I’ve started a little birthday tradition with myself of reflecting on the past year, favorite memories or things I’ve learned. Then I also let myself dream about what I’m most looking forward to in the next year of life. It’s my simple way of actually celebrating my age and taking in all that God has for me, even the painful and less than glamorous parts of life.
Easy for me to say, right? I’ve got a lot of life left to live, and I can’t actually say how I’ll feel fifty years from now. But I hope that I’ll feel the same way then as I do now: excited to learn and face whatever it is that God has for me.
My hope is to embrace every single gray hair, every wrinkle, and every challenge that comes with the passing years. I want to wear them proudly as signs of a life well-lived.
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