I thought I was grown up at 30. I had a degree in psychology. My first husband and I had recently purchased a new house; a milestone for both of us. We had nice cars and decent furniture. I was a compensation manager for an employee base of close to 2,000. I’d done my fair share of travel. Little did I know, I knew very little!
In the decade between 30 and 40, I’d continued to advance in my career and ended up at a level that my ditzy 17 year old self never could have fathomed. Regarding houses, I’d sold and bought, sold and bought, and sold and bought again. I’d moved from California to Colorado and then back to California and was nearing yet another move, this time to North Carolina. I’d survived a failed marriage and several other ridiculous relationships. I had a major readjustment moment which ultimately led me to quit my job, end my career, and go to Italy for six weeks for no reason other than to do it. After all of this, I HAD to be grown up. Yet, I wasn’t, not fully.
Now I’m on the downward slide to 50. My second marriage has lasted longer than my first. Together, my husband and I have bought, sold and bought houses, made a move to Florida and started our own business. We’ve each lost a parent. We’ve returned to and become heavily involved in the church. So, now that I am officially a Church Lady, I HAVE to be grown up, right?
The thing is, ever since I can remember, I’ve always wanted something else than what I have. Certainly at times this can be helpful, especially in the areas of drive, accomplishment and achievement. However, the problem becomes, one like this is never satisfied with what one has. Not a very peaceful way to live, nor is it realistic, mature or wise.
My first fifty years were defined by one change after another, by never being totally ok with what I had or who I was. That’s not what I want for Part Two; and so I’ve thought a lot about what I want to be going forward, listed here in alphabetic order because I don’t want to waste time agonizing over which is more important!
· Active. Physically and mentally. As much as I love a bit of R&R, I need to keep somewhat busy. I also think this contributes to many of the others I’ve named below.
· Age Appropriate Attractive. Slim and elegant comes to mind. Who can argue with that?
· Gracious. Is there anything more lovely than a kind and gracious woman? I don’t think so, either.
· Faithful. To my God. To my family and friends. To myself.
· Healthy. Obviously, much of this is not within my control however I know full well that a lot of it is. I can chose what I do with my physical self, what I put into it, what I put it through.
· Humble. Is there anything more unattractive than a self-satisfied, arrogant individual? I know much has been given to me. I am hopeful that I can give back in spades.
· Interesting. Please, God; don’t let me turn into someone who never has anything new to say or share.
· Thankful. I’ve started keeping a daily Gratitude Journal to remind me how much I have to be thankful for and every day I write at least one thing down specific to that day. One of my favorite devotional books said that it’s nearly impossible to be critical and complaining when you are thankful.
· Trusting. That same devotional said trust in God keeps one from obsessing and worrying. I don’t think this means throwing up your hands and exclaiming “I’ll just put my trust in God” and then either not doing anything or being extremely reckless; but, rather, it means knocking off the incessant second guessing about what’s already happened or the fretting that keeps one from doing anything at all.
I could add more; and maybe over the course of time there may be a few more I’d throw in but I don’t believe there would be any I’d remove.
I’ve taken to memorizing scripture. Frankly, I’m amazed how easy it’s been to do so, which tells me I must need it in my mind and heart; not to mention, you never know when it may become necessary to pull out a well-placed verse. Lately, as I’ve thought a lot about getting old(er); about the trials of aging, of losing people I love, of perhaps losing my health and becoming frail, of maybe being lonely, I’ve been seeking out verses that speak to these things. This verse from Hebrews brings me so much comfort because I know as the years march on, I’ll never really be alone. And, even if one is not religious, I think it also illustrates how we, like those who have gone before us, must live, and finish, our lives in both memorable and honorable ways.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also throw off every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us”. Hebrews 12:1