Sunday, June 27, 2021

Life Cycles and Stages

A few weeks ago I returned late from a dinner to celebrate a friend's birthday. Apparently it was birthday night at the restaurant because, as we discovered over the course of the night, most of the tables on the patio were celebrating a birthday. As we were seated, the table closest to us commented that they were celebrating a birthday as well. At their table, Robin was turning 65; at our's, Ana was turning 40. As we each turned back to our respective tables, one of our new friends at the table next to us commented that she wished she was 40 again.

Really? I thought.  Hadn't our table just been talking about divorces, diseases, and problems with children - all a result of this moment in our lives.  Yet, at 65 this woman wished she were 40 again?

The evening passed and we had a pleasant evening.  The meal was finished, the tab was paid, and as we made our way out of the restaurant, the scene changed.  We saw a group of girls, maybe in their mid-twenties.  My friends and I looked at each other, and there was an understanding: it would be easy to wish we were them again.  Remember the thrill of wondering where life would take you?  The energy to stay out late and get up the next morning unphased?  The carefree moments when you could do what you wanted because you reported to no one else?

And then almost as quickly: Remember not having enough money for rent?  Being mistreated in a relationship?  Desiring the respect your age made hard to earn?

In writing about developing mature love, the apostle Paul wrote:
"When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things." (1 Corinthians 13:11, NASB)
Similarly, we must learn to put former days behind us.  Have you ever met someone who was desperately hanging on to their youth? It always makes me sad to think they are missing out on what is happening in their life because they are attempting to gain something they'll never have again.

I hope that when I'm 65, I enjoy being 65. So, I must begin that practice now.  I appreciate that I'm 39, at least for a few more days, because this is where God has me.

* * *
Dear Reader,
This post was written several weeks ago and fell between the cracks.  I was reluctant to post it, having just written about slowing down as I approached 40. Two posts in a row about turning 40?  I promise I am not obsessed, as I thought you may consider me.  Instead, I choose to own it.  I am almost 40, and these are things I'm thinking about these days.  It is what it is.  So I hope, friend, that you will bear with me as I learn to let go of being 30-something and embrace being 40-something.

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