Friday, December 28, 2012

Five Great Things about Being in My 50s

It’s no fun getting older.  My body has changed.  My skin shows signs of all those youthful years sunbathing (baking) in the sun.  I now see the effects of gravity; things are going south.  I have stiff joints, slower metabolism (which makes it easier to gain weight), and grey is showing at my temples.  Plus, it’s kind of a bummer to start getting mail from AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), because then you start feeling like you’re “over the hill.”

But growing older is not all bad.  In fact, it’s a privilege; a privilege that has been denied to many others.  Some people don’t get the chance to reach my age.  They die too soon.  And many of them are more deserving than the rest of us.  In light of this, I think it’s a good idea to dwell upon the privilege of growing older rather than the burden of growing older.

Although I am not officially a senior adult I am enjoying this current season of my life.  Here’s a few reasons why:

1.  I get to see my children grow up, start families of their own, and begin to mature.  I think of the men and women whose funerals I’ve conducted over the last 30 years, who will never have the privilege of walking a daughter down the isle or seeing their grandchildren.

Me, I’m in my mid-50s.  Both my sons are grown.  I've liked seeing them come into manhood.  My oldest son is married.  He and his beautiful wife have a son, which is my/our first grandchild.  This is a pure delight to me and Renae, and full of unspeakable joy.

I am grateful for this privilege and do not take it for granted.

2.  I have time to putter and work on my hobbies.  How many people do you know who complain because there are so many books they’d like to read, but don’t have time?  Well, as a 50-something-year-old, I have time.

I’m not retired, but my schedule is more flexible than it was when I was in my 20s or 30s.  This gives me time to pursue interests outside of work like fishing, gardening, and lots of reading.  I'm usually reading two or three books at a time.  There is a stack of books beside my easy chair, beside my bed, and within arms reach of the desk in my office.

I love read.  It helps me to become a deeper thinker.  I like physical labor too, outdoor work,like work in a garden.  It’s rewarding to see the fruit of my efforts.

3.  The coffee is less expensive in a lot of places.  “I’ll have the senior coffee” you say and the counter clerk knows what you mean.  You get the same coffee as everyone else, but pay about half of what they do.  Oh, and some restaurants – even fast food joints – have senior discounts.

I still too vain to use this option – but it’s good to know it’s there any time I have a “senior moment.” 

4.  I have the perfect excuse for odd behavior or unorthodox dress.  I have no problem wearing flip-flops with a pair socks nowadays.  It looks ridiculous, but I don't care.  I'm more interested in keeping my feet warm than I am impressing the neighbors.  I can wear a mis-matched shirt and pants and people just say, “He’s old.”

Another thing. I can tell somebody what I think, or tell them off, and I’m safe.  Whereas if I was younger they would want to have a fist fight, now they just walk away saying, “He’s old.”

Is that a great arrangement or what?

5.  I have a historical perspective.  I can see earthquakes around the world, or mega-storms, or tsunamis, and it doesn’t cause me to panic.  I've seen it all before.  I have seen worse.  I remember the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy’s assignation, the Cold War (and having to get under my desk in elementary school for nuclear-attack-drills.  I remember the oil embargo during the 1970s.  I remember Vietnam, Watergate, President Nixon’s resignation, and the Six Day War in Israel that almost plunged the world into global conflict.

So when someone asks if Hurricane Katrina or this year’s tornado's are omens of the end of the world, I categorically answer, “Not hardly.”

Historical perspective is a great sedative.  And it also keeps me from getting silly with my theology.

In Conclusion – I would have finished this article with more good reasons about being a senior, but I can’t remember what they are.

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