“Be on the alert to recognize your prime at whatever time of your life it may occur.”
It’s what the fortune cookie in my hand predicted. I swear that’s what it said. It made me smile because I believe it.
At 50+ (and we don’t have to discuss exactly how many that plus represents) I am discovering just exactly why this is referred to as “the prime of life.” Unfortunately, that phrase is often used in a negative way. “She’s passed her prime” or in a morbid way, as in “She was cut down in the prime of life.” And if you carefully read the rest of the story, prime is usually north of 50 and south of 60.
So what precisely does prime mean? Dust off that dictionary (do you actually still have one or do you use the internet these days?) Here’s what it says:
Prime: adjective, noun, and verb.
It’s a multi-faceted word, and I like that idea. Think adaptable, flexible. Able to reinvent, repurpose and rearrange. Isn’t that what life at 50+ requires? The dictionary goes on to define prime as follows:
- of the first importance; demanding the fullest consideration: a prime requisite.
- of the greatest relevance or significance: a prime example.
- of the highest eminence or rank: the prime authority on Chaucer.
- of the greatest value: prime building lots.
- first-rate: This steak is prime!
Do you see it? Value. Importance. Relevant. Significant.
But here’s the best part. When used as a verb the word is defined as “to prepare or make ready for a particular purpose or operation.”
And there you have it. Have you wondered whether you’ve accomplished in life what God intended for you? Here’s a clue: if you’re still here, you’re not done.
Throughout our life we prepared: pre-school, senior exams, career choices, pre-marital counseling, pre-natal education, college savings accounts for the kids, and 401k’s for retirement. But eventually, we slow all that down and are in danger of sputtering out before we finish strong.
At this prime stage in life we still need to prepare. The challenge is many of us are unclear about what to prepare for. Here are a few steps to help set you on your path. Ask yourself:
- What do I know? How can I use it to benefit others? Can you cook? Volunteer in the kitchen of a homeless shelter. Do you love to read? Sign up at your local library to read to children or help someone struggling with literacy problems. Familiar with the area in which you live? Join the local welcome wagon organization to help newcomers acclimate. Volunteer at church, a museum, or the local school. Write articles, start a blog, teach someone to sew, garden or cook. If you’ve got it, use it!
- What do I want to learn? What have I put off doing? Just because you’re in your prime doesn’t mean you can’t learn something new and wonderful. Try golf, skiing, learn to speak French, learn to cook French, learn to ignore the French and their “I eat everything and weigh nothing” superiority! Read through the Bible in a year. Take a class on Women of the Civil War for the fun without the stress of the grade. Stop learning, and you start getting old.
- Sit quietly and soak up God. It’s prime time to take advantage of the chance to indulgently sop up God through meditation and prayer. Sit before Him and soak. Listen. Breathe Him in. Ask His spirit to direct you so that you may align with His perfect will for this time in your life.
Remember the scripture, “Finish what you started in me, God. Your love is eternal – don’t quit on me now!” (Psalm 138:8 MSG).