At 62 years young, some MAY consider me a part of the older generation now. I’ve really been embracing this season of my life lately with all I am… but I definitely was NOT in this place just a few years ago.
WRESTLING WITH AGING
I admit it. I’ve been dealing with fear – fear of aging badly. I’ve also been overly focused on the likely fact I have lived perhaps two-thirds of my life so that was dismal and depressing, ever poking at my psyche. On top of that, this darn mirror doesn’t lie! I really tried at first to ignore it. Coloring my hair, holding my neck wrinkles back and deciding if I’d get that magical lift surgery in the near future seemed to help. Other times, I’d just live in denial, but that eventually caught up with me.
I did need to face reality so I pressed into the big questions that were haunting me about aging.
- Why was I hiding my age?
- What was I accomplishing?
- What was I afraid of?
It didn’t take long for me to figure out that I was afraid of death; I was hiding from my mortality. I’d been seeking encouragement from the mirror instead of the One who made me.
I set out to read my Bible and look for encouragement about aging in positive ways. I found wonderful words and heard the Spirit of God encouraging me. He showed me how was in hiding. He loved me anyway, and lead me to overcome fear and see that I could choose to enjoy aging.
The real turning point for me was a revelation I got one morning that I’ll never forget. The following scripture leapt of the page and into my heart and gave me a sense of excitement to change this pattern immediately.
God, now that I’m old and gray, don’t walk away.
Give me grace to demonstrate to the next generation all Your mighty miracles
And Your excitement to show them Your magnificent power!
Psalm 71:18 (The Passion Translation)
Psalm 71 is called “The Psalm of Old Age” and what’s really funny about that is I LOVE this title now! God was encouraging me to enjoy aging as a gift to myself and those around me. Yes, aging is a GIFT! For me it was all or nothing – so now I was excited to get started.
Purpose nearly bowled me over! I saw clearly that I’d been hiding from the very purpose this season of life was bringing to me. My family, my experiences, my battles, triumphs, letting go, overcoming, terrible failures and embarrassing moments as well as love and loss are a bouquet of every kind of emotion and experience that makes life deep and rich. The wisdom that came with these experiences, was all boxed up inside me and hiding. Then, add a healthy dose of fear to that because I was likely the oldest woman in most, or maybe all of my circles of influence, and I’d been blind to what was right in front of me.
I was suddenly SO EXCITED to accept this gift of aging. It was as if God had wrapped it up and handed it to me right there in my living room at the break of dawn that day. And I accepted it and unwrapped it over the next year.
However, let me be very transparent. When it came to being practical about looking at aging as a gift, this hair thing was really a challenge for me!
If I let my hair turn it’s natural gray, never got surgery and just took good care of myself, would I be ok? Would people still say, “Oh my, you look so young!” Did I want their compliments and flattery or did I want to just relax and be more of myself than I had ever embraced before?
As I looked in the mirror after coloring my hair dark brown one day, I saw a 60-year-old face and hair that just did not fit with that face. It was a little scary but I truly let myself see it, and let it sink in. I decided to embrace and enjoy uncovering my true hair color. It wasn’t an overnight decision to let my hair become it’s natural self, but I did get there eventually. Little did I know the impact it would have on my entire identity.
Photos of the hair journey don’t do justice to the joy I feel now at having gone through this process but I hope you enjoy seeing a bit of my journey in a snapshot. I’m happy, free and full of purpose. I am invigorated that women my age are meant to be vivacious and alive, giving encouragement, advice and love to those younger than ourselves. We are meant to be an example of what it means to age in Christ. Every year we live we grow in character and steadfast love for Him, increasing in beauty. We bring and share LIFE.
I met a stunningly beautiful 104 year old women recently. All I can say is ever since that encounter I find myself saying, “I want to be just like her”. She was fully alive, fun, and completely captivating. That’s my plan… and I ask God all the time to help me live for Him. I believe the best is yet to come. I am not disqualified, I am just getting started!
Now I am savoring every single day of my life more than ever before. My moments are lived with more intention and purpose, treasuring the rich memories that make my life completely unique. I wouldn’t change my age now for anything or go back to another age. I love THIS moment. I love THIS age. I love my life and I am planning to live every moment to the fullest. I won’t fight my age anymore. I embrace the process and enjoy the great honor that God and my family and friends place on my age.
I am thrilled to be so alive and treasure every new day as a gift.
How do you see yourself as you think of being 40, 60, 80 or even 100+ years old?