I celebrated my 49th birthday this week.
Notice I said “celebrated”– not “shrugged at.”
Ok, originally, my thought was that 49 doesn’t have quite the ring to it that 29 had…or even 42! But then I remembered something I heard years ago as I approached 30: “If you don’t like getting older, consider the alternative.”
Women younger than me are dying every day due to some kind of cancer. So I am truly blessed to have another year of life. By complaining of my age, I’m complaining about a privilege …being allowed to live another year and enjoy life. That kind of complaint doesn’t make sense to me. And so, instead of complaining about the inevitable effects of aging (like more body aches and pains, diminishing eyesight, and the 1- to 2-pound weight gain that the average woman experiences yearly after age 35!), I thought I would focus on what I am thankful for as I grow older.
Psalm 90:12 says:
So teach us to number our days that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom.
I believe that verse is telling me to not only “make each day count” but to be thankful for the number of days I have.
Several years ago, when I wrote my book, When Women Long for Rest, it was my challenge to focus on the few things that matter in life, make each day count, and aim for a life that grows more beautiful, not more busy, through the years. Each time I celebrate another year of life, it’s a good time to review that challenge and see how I’m doing.
So, as I focus today on the few things that matter in life, here are seven things I want to share with you that any of us can be thankful for as we age:
1) With each year, we gain more life experiences and those make us wiser and more credible when it comes to giving advice.
2) Another year of life means another year of opportunities to make friends and grow closer to the ones we already have.
3) Each year of life represents more time on this planet to enjoy the beauty of what God created. (Get outdoors on a nice day and relish in it and you’ll know what I mean.)
4) The longer we live the more opportunities we have to forgive others, just as God has forgiven us (Colossians 3:13). (Why live with the burden of bitterness? Live freely by freely forgiving.)
5) Another year of life means we have another year to invest in encouraging, inspiring, and serving others. (I think about this, particularly, when it comes to my daughter. Maybe it comes to your mind as you think of a grandchild or family member.)
6) The longer we are here on this earth (and the more we outlive others), the more intense our longing can be for heaven. : )
7) Another year of life allows us more time to discover more of God and His wondrous ways before we leave this earth to meet Him face to face.
As I realize I am now one year away from the big 5-0, the words to an old hymn come to my mind: “Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before.” There’s something about aging that makes those words ring truer.
Will you thank Him with me today for your life, your years, and your increasing age?
And let me know what YOU are thankful for as you grow older.