I have just been told that I am too old. And the thing is, I don’t disagree. I am too old. I know, I know, forty’s the new thirty. But have you noticed that only the forty-year-olds are saying that? I mean really. Forty is forty. It is not thirty at all.
I asked for a lighted magnifying mirror for Christmas. I got it. I love it. Sort of. At least now I can see when I need to pluck my eyebrows. I was appalled at how wild my brows had grown when I peered into the new mirror… and do you think any of my dear friends gave a sister a heads up? Not one.
Show me a thirty-year-old that needs a special mirror for that little task. I sure didn’t need one back then. This new mirror also shows other things I’d rather not take note of. Like wrinkles, saggy skin, and pores. When did I get those pores? Suddenly in that mirror, my face looks like the surface of the moon.
My sister-in-law who is thirty recently had a hysterectomy. Unfortunately for her, this has sent her into instant menopause. We laugh about going through menopause together. Who would have thunk it? I’ve known her since she was thirteen and this is the first life stage where I’ve not had the jump on her by thirteen years. Night sweats, muscle aches, moodiness. Yep. Menopause is the bomb. At least we can laugh together about it all.
Recently she called me concerned that she was having trouble with stiffness in her joints after she sits for a long time. She said that was recently in her closet talking on the phone… (That’s not weird. Trust me, if you have four kids like we each do, sometimes you have to talk in the closet.) She made the mistake of sitting on the floor for the duration of the conversation. Then when she hung up the phone she found she could not get up. Literally. I found that hilarious. Only because I can so relate.
But she’s thirty. And while she’s been thrown into this stage of life way early, she’s not yet been told she’s too old for anything. Not like me. I actually felt sorry for the poor person who told me I was too old. He was oh so very gentle and kind.
Here’s what happened:
The youth pastors at the church where my husband serves on staff, are looking for volunteers to help lead small groups of teenagers regularly in Bible study and in, well, life. They are looking for leaders ages 18-35 to step up and interact with the kids. I fall out of that range by a wee little bit. But I’d been leading a group of middle school girls for a few months so I just gave them a heads up that the old lady was on the scene and willing to help if they needed me to do anything more.
Like I said, the response was gentle and kind. Even made me laugh. And the thing is, I don’t disagree at all. Actually I am in complete support of what they are trying to do. I am a firm believer that kids in middle and high school benefit the most from leaders who themselves are young. Kids don’t need another “mom” telling them how to live their lives. What they need is someone still young who can come alongside parents and say what we are saying, only cooler.
But to date, no 18-35 year old leader has stepped up in our area of town to lead young girls. So it’s still me or nothing, and I still consider me better than nothing. This poor young youth leader apparently did, too. He encouraged me to keep leading my group, and I promised to happily bow out should some motivated youngster step up to lead. But as a more visible youth leader, yes, I was too old.
Age does have its benefits, though. Take my present job. I was hired, in part, because of my maturity. Before I was offered the job, a younger candidate (she was probably thirty) had also applied that my supervisor liked very much. The job requires that, from time to time, you stand your ground to very confident, and sometimes very intimidating attending physicians. The kind of physicians who really don’t like to be told “No”. My supervisor felt that a little maturity and experience might serve better in that position. So she hired me instead of the younger candidate. Sometimes forty-three rocks.
So I’m not buying that forty is the new thirty.
The fact is that many of us just really don’t want to grow old in this society. We’re in denial. We eat healthy, exercise more, and slather on all kinds of creams and lotions to fight the wrinkles and craters that insist on showing up in the mirror. None of that is bad. It’s all actually quite good, but it won’t make us thirty again. What it will do, is make 60, 70, and 80 oh so much better!
Jesus never saw forty here on earth. But I think if he had, he
wouldn’t have spent it trying to be thirty again.
No, he would have stayed on mission, and I think he’d rather we did, too. I may not need or be able to do the things I did ten years ago, but there are plenty of things I can do today. Opportunities that were not open to me when I was younger, now are. I mean really, if you want great advise do you go to your younger friends or to your more mature ones? Forty-somethings have much to offer, much still to do.
Let’s stop trying to recapture decades gone by, and embrace
every stage of life with excitement and anticipation.