Today is a day I could not imagine when I was a young lady… it seemed so far away. Today, I turn thirty-nine. Thirty-nine! Though I can still say that I am in my thirties for one more year, I feel my ascent to the fourth floor coming quickly.
When I turned twenty-nine, it was as if my entire body started fighting against the inevitable. I cannot be turning thirty. I simply cannot. My twenties went by way too quickly! I spent the entire year dreading my next birthday. Not this time. Forty is coming, Lord willing, and I want to look forward to it rather than hiding from it with all my might.
Aging does not have to be a horrible experience. Sure, bodies break down and we endure heartaches as we grow older, but there can also be plenty of laughs, memories made, and joy through the process.
So, here’s to 39! And to celebrate, here are thirty-nine reasons (and a few suggestions how) to enjoy getting older rather than dreading it! (Our younger readers may not think this content is as applicable to you, but it will give you good insight!)
- Wisdom abounds. One of the treasures of aging is gaining wisdom. People often look down on growing older in our society today, but the Bible praises it. “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life” (Proverbs 16:31, ESV). Everyone ages, but not everyone grows wise. Wisdom comes from learning from our mistakes and fearing the Lord. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight” (Proverbs 9:10, ESV). “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12, ESV).
- You can gain a different kind of beauty or attractiveness. Think about some of the most beautiful older women or handsome older men you know. There may be some wrinkles and gray hair, but older people who walk with the Lord have a glow about them which I hope to have if the Lord allows me to live that long. My grandma once teared up and said, “I don’t know how anyone could love me when I look like this.” My heart broke. Maybe she looked in the mirror and saw an elderly woman with imperfections in her face and body, but I saw a beautiful woman of God whom I wanted to emulate.
- Older people often enjoy more financial abundance and security. Working hard has its rewards and so does making wise financial choices. As you get older, you can reap the rewards of your youthful work and sacrifices.
- When you have more money, you can spoil the people in your life more! This is why grandparents love to buy toys and candy for their grandbabies. “Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers” (Proverbs 17:6, ESV).
- Create a goal each year to meet by your next birthday. This way, each year takes on greater meaning rather than floating by mindlessly. From this birthday forward, attach a goal to each year. Keep track of each one so you can look back on all you have accomplished in later years.
- Aging gives you more years to make friends. Charlie Tremendous Jones is famous for saying, “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” Friends have profoundly changed my life, and while I used to hide from the opportunity to create new friendships, I now look forward to the people God will place in my path.
- The older you get, the less stuff you need. My in-laws practically beg us not to give them stuff. They have a house full of stuff. Now they instead want time with their children (and sweet cards). My mom is also on a constant quest to declutter her life. As we age, we discover how few things it takes to make us happy.
- Spend time with fun older people! You want to get excited about the aging process? Hang out with the type of older people you want to be someday! When I was twelve, I enjoyed spending time with my grandma and her friends. They had fun. They laughed. They were not worried about trivial matters. I adored them and I still see them as role models.
- We can look forward to fewer embarrassment worries. When I was a teenager, I felt like the world was watching me and waiting for me to do something stupid. The older I get, the more I realize how few people are watching – and the less I care about the ones who are! Wear that shirt. Dance that dance. Make that joke.
- Candy! Older people always have candy, and for that reason, I believe I have secretly always been an older person.
- Older people often mellow with time. The more life you live, the more easily you discern what is worth your attention and what is not. Life educates us all; and, if we are wise, we learn when and where to put our energy and when to hold back.
- Along with mellowing, we have the chance to let go of old grudges as we age. That is something to look forward to, especially for those of us who have a difficult time letting go of pain. Have you noticed the most forgiving people are often the ones who have walked the toughest roads? The more we go through, the more we can separate what is important from what we need to release.
- Older people can be some of the funniest people! My neighbors are in their 80s and they bring a smile to my face frequently. They are not overly concerned about what comes out of their mouths, and they have many funny experiences to share. Let’s look forward to making “the young people” laugh until they cry.
- Write down what you have learned over the past ten years. Look forward to what you will learn in the next ten years. In fact, keep a journal of lessons learned and review it in ten years.
- Does sex get better with age? Some experts say so! With age comes experience and confidence, and the longer a couple is married, the more they know about their partner’s desires. Instead of worrying that sex will get worse with age, look forward to all the ways it will get better! (Hollywood is wrong.)
- Maybe I will save money?! When my friend visited me this past March, we could barely keep going after visiting two stores. Perhaps with advancing years, I will have less desire to go shopping and spend money. (Eric is excited about this one too!)
- Less need for drama! Even now, I care less about what other people are doing and thinking than I used to. I want a peaceful life with peaceful friends and a peaceful dog. Growing older does not mean you will be free from drama, but you might go to greater lengths to keep it from negatively impacting your life.
- Liberation from unrealistic expectations is coming! When I turned 30, I suddenly felt a weight fall off me. It was as though my worries about what other people thought of me significantly diminished. Not that I went crazy, but I felt like society was no longer expecting perfection. I can only imagine how liberating 40 will feel! ~smile~
- Answered prayers! Being able to look back and see years of answered prayers and evidence of the Lord’s faithfulness is so exciting. “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread” (Psalm 37:25, ESV).
- After years of watching God work in our lives, we can go through tough times with more peace and confidence – not because of ourselves and our abilities, but because of our strengthened faith. “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18, ESV).
- With age, we develop a greater ability to prioritize well. We gain insight with each passing year and with that comes a greater ability to prioritize our lives. We become more adept at answering the question: Which decision will I wish I had made in ten years?
- Being able to pour into the lives of the following generations is a blessing. Miss Betty was my beloved mentor who I miss so much, but the time and teaching she poured into my life is still living inside of me. Now I can look forward to the privilege of being that person for someone else.
- The longer we live, the better equipped we are to make decisions. Do you shudder, as I do, when you think back on some of the silly decisions you made when you were younger? Those embarrassing moments help us grow and teach us how to make better choices in the future.
- Life experience can make us more compassionate (if we let it). Some people grow bitter and critical as they age, but it does not have to be that way.
- More years means more sweet memories to treasure. Pictures, holidays, baptisms – the older we get, the more beautiful moments we get to hide in our hearts.
- More years means more hilarious memories to treasure! Sitting at the beach with my childhood friends, laughing about the years gone by is one of my favorite past times. If it is this fun now, I cannot imagine all the stories we will have to share when we are sixty!
- I am personally excited about taking more risks and being more fearless as I age. Imagine you only had six months left to live. What fears would you let go of and what adventures would you take? When time gets shorter, we are more compelled (hopefully) to make the most of it.
- The older we get, the more we know about ourselves. Have you noticed that older dating couples often get married more quickly than younger couples? This is in large part because the older we get, the more we know about what we want and where we are going (or not going). We can look forward to having finally found ourselves. ~smile~
- The older we get, the more knowledge we can gain of history – family history and world history. My aunt spends a lot of time on ancestory.com. It is perhaps her greatest hobby. She knows more about our family tree than I will ever know.
- Older believers have more knowledge of the Scriptures. My friend’s ninety-year-old grandmother has memorized multiple books of the Bible – yes, entire books of the Bible. This took her years of faithful study and dedication. Though most of us will not memorize that much Scripture in our lifetimes, we can gain a world of Biblical knowledge in the years we have left. And what a legacy that is to future generations!
- You might just find your teeth in strange places. My great aunt lost her teeth some years back while my grandma was visiting her. When Granny returned home, she put her hand in her housecoat pocket only to discover her sister’s missing teeth. Now those kinds of surprises just do not happen to young folks!
- We can look forward to finding more joy in simplicity. Sunrises, sunsets, leisurely strolls, and conversations with friends. If we age with grace, we slow down and notice what is around us. “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy” (I Timothy 6:17, ESV).
- The older we get, the less we will care how we look in a bathing suit. A couple years ago, an older gentleman in a speedo approached my sister-in-law and me on the beach and asked if one of us would rub sunscreen on his back. I took one for the team, but it was extremely awkward. Still, how cool is it that he felt comfortable enough in his own skin to throw on a tiny bit of fabric and talk to women on the beach?!
- Older people often have more time to pursue their hobbies. What do you love to do but find little time to enjoy? My neighbor golfs several times a week. When he was scratching out a living and raising children, he could only golf on occasion.
- Discounts! Okay, so maybe senior discounts will not kick in for several more years, but when that day comes, I am going to take complete advantage of them!
- Who cares if you go to bed early or watch TV all evening? This is a bigger deal for some than for others. I have always enjoyed time at home on Friday nights, but some feel compelled to go out and socialize on the weekends. The older you get, the less pressured you feel to leave the comfort of your home (unless you want to).
- Though our bodies may weaken, our emotional muscles can grow stronger with age. One of my friends is in her early thirties and she decided not to wait for a mid-life crisis to start working on her emotional health. She studies, receive counsel, and puts great effort into strengthening her emotional health. I admire her greatly for that.
- It becomes easier to say no. No thank you. I appreciate it, but I am fine. I would rather not. My younger self had an extremely hard time saying no to people. My friend’s mom said she was going to send me into Walmart and make me walk up to strangers and say “No!” Nowadays, I feel less pressure to say yes when I would rather decline, but I am far from where I want to be. In another ten years or so, I expect to feel far less guilty for saying no than I do today.
- Heaven becomes a sweeter reality. For those who love Christ, eternity with Christ is the greatest reward. The older we get and the more people we lose, the more real eternity feels. The thought of bidding farewell to the sorrows, tears, and the worry of this world is a tremendous joy.
We do not have to fear getting older. All we must fear is getting older without Christ. If we have the blessed assurance of His sweet salvation, aging is just stepping closer and closer to the day we get to see Him face to face.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. (John 10:27-29, ESV)
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. (Isaiah 46:4, ESV)
O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come. Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you? (Psalm 71:17-19, ESV)
Keep breaking free!!!
Are you enjoying each year or dreading the aging process?