My church keeps sending me email invitations to the Prime Time Ministries group. Prime Time??? That’s code for “old” isn’t it? And if that’s the case, I am certain I do not qualify. Forget about the fact that according to my drivers’ license, I am overqualified. Give me a break!
The Prime Timers are a wonderful group of people. And to its credit, our church has decided to “ease us in” to reality by separating the group into three, stair-stepped age groups. And I, of course, qualify for the youngest. The ones they term “Not Ready for Prime Time”. Boy that’s the truth. I am SO not ready.
When our oldest son recently turned 30, I said to my husband on the flight out to celebrate with him, “You know, if you’ve got a 30 year old child, you’re not 40 anymore.” He looked at me and said, “Baby – you’re not even 50 anymore.”
The truth is – I find myself in a different place. And there aren’t as many signposts as there used to be. Notices regarding this month’s PTA and the snack schedule for little league. Reminders about the kid’s prom photos and the need to order graduation announcements. Towels left to be picked up off the bathroom floor. Kids waiting to be picked up after band practice. A pool full of boys – and the late night quiet conversation of a boy who’s heart has been broken by some teenage girl. Those were the indicators that directed my days, filled my calendar and made my life full.
And if I’m honest, although I cherished the time as I watched my sons grow to be men, I like where I am. It’s different. It’s exciting. It’s full of possibility. Only my body is advancing (sounds so much better than aging, doesn’t it?). It requires more upkeep on a daily basis to maintain the opportunity to finish strong. Eat less fat, eat more fiber. One of the questions I am definitely going to ask when I get to heaven is why ice cream is bad for you and brussel sprouts are good. That’s just wrong.
The truly odd thing is that I don’t really feel old until someone points it out. The kid at the movies asks if I want the senior discount, or the waitress offers me the “silver” breakfast menu. “Back off, kid,” is what I want to say. But I don’t want to be seen as old AND grumpy. My wonderful mother understood this phenomenon. She lived to be 84 years old. And for the last 5 years of her life, she wore a wig, as most of her own hair had “gone with the wind.” But what little she had of her own left, she had colored brown. Dark brown. And her wig? Dark as well. The first thing she did each and every day, before even making her way to the bathroom, was to put on her wig. Otherwise, she said she was always so startled by her reflection and often wondered, “Who is that old woman?” I remember her saying to me, “why is it that I don’t really feel any older than I did 30 years ago?” My husband’s mother smiled when I shared this conversation with her, and said, “It’s our best evidence that we are eternal beings. Our spirits never age.” I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by really wise women.
Romans 12:2 says “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” And that’s it. I don’t want to conform to this “age” (although I know that Paul had a different meaning in mind.). I need to resist telling myself “I’m too old to learn that new software” or “let someone younger take that church opportunity on.” I don’t want to hear the phrase, “Aren’t you a little old to be starting that?” I am in a renewing phase of my life. There are new opportunities, new challenges, new relationships, and new destinations. I believe there is a lot of work, a lot of fun, and a lot of possibility left before I exit the planet. I am certain God has an exciting and meaningful purpose for my life at this stage. And I don’t want to miss a moment of it.
I have a lot of living to do. I have friends, who at 50 are dating again. And newlyweds at 57. Trust me, the game show is not ready for that couple, or the challenges they never saw coming. Some are finding their long time jobs have become confining and dull – they are ready for a change. And why isn’t there a Dr. Spock sharing his wisdom on how to deal with your adult children? You know them – the ones who know more than you now and gladly dispense advice at the drop of a hat. And don’t even get me started on the whole “in-law” thing. Now I’ve got them at both ends – I have a mother-in-law and I am one! No guide books for that little adventure. And even though they are truly wonderful young women who love the Lord, how much do you say? When do you say it? How do you say it?
I don’t know! But I’m hoping that together, we can find the yellow brick road, duck the flying monkeys, and make our way to Oz. Or in this case – a truly magical place for those of us who are not 40 anymore. Maybe, not even 50.