I recently celebrated my 45th birthday. As each year passes, I realise more and more how short life is. When I was in my twenties, I saw people who were fifty as ancient. It was as though I believed they already had one foot in the grave. Thankfully, as I got older, my curtain of naivety opened and I started to value the older generation and recognise their strengths and opportunities to influence our world.
Yes. Maturing in years, can change our perspective on how we view life and our resources. As a woman with a lot of energy and interests, I have always lived my life to the full. Every year has been exciting and brought new possibilities to discover and build into the future. To grow older as a woman, hasn’t been a threat to me but an enrichment in my life; my life experiences increased and I had many opportunities to try out new things. As strange as it might sound, I often forget my own age, something I could have never imagined as a young woman. Numbers have become less important to me than the life I am living.
And then I turned 45. I suddenly realised after hearing a comment from a friend, that in five years, I will have a 5 in the front instead of the back of my age. Though I don’t wanted to admit it, this reality hit me hard. I started to ask myself if I still have enough time to do everything I want to do. Are my best years over now? There are still so many things I want to accomplish in this world. In that moment I experienced self-pity flying toward me like a bird flies into a wall. I saw myself in my daydream, like an old shaky woman, sitting on a bench (maybe the substitute bench) and looking at my swollen feet.
For the first time in my life, I felt fear in my heart of growing older. I looked into the mirror and began searching for grey hairs, that wanted to sneak onto my head. My face looked older, with saggy skin and a wrinkle I hadn’t seen before. At the same time I was asking myself if I should continue to invest my life into young people or if they see me as old and useless? Should I even continue to wear my favourite takkies (trainers)?
Then my ten year old son gave me a birthday card that helped me see a different perspective. He wrote:
You are so special! You are a kind, good hearted and beautiful woman. I don’t know if 45 is a big birthday but you are about halfway through your life. Happy, happy birthday. I love you. Shane. P.S. You are sooooooo special!!!!!"
These words touched my heart. It felt, like God himself spoke through the words of my little boy. He reminded me about what was really important. Was 45 an important birthday? Not really. For my boy I am only in the middle of my life. Can I do everything I wish to in the future? Maybe not. But that is not really important. My son’s message was short and clear. It is who I am today that is important.
It felt, like God himself spoke through the words of my little boy. He reminded me about what was really important.
A new thankfulness filled my heart. I realised how important the NOW is. Whatever happens in the future, if I have a couple more grey hairs on my head, wrinkles on my face, or a huge number of candles on my birthday cake, is not really important.
What is important is how we live today. The NOW counts. In the NOW we love the people who are entrusted to us. In the NOW we influence our world. In the NOW we meet God. Everything else is incidental.
Mail to Doris Lindsay