Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday Musings ~ On Aging

Me, in the turbulent years
In my late teens and early 20’s, I was a passionate and impetuous lost soul. I seriously had no clue. I blamed certain people for my lack of direction, and occasional bad behavior, and thought I had good reasons to do so. I read magazines with lots of quizzes in them and answered each question sincerely, hoping to discover how sexy, or romantic, or likable I was… or wasn’t, as was sometimes the case.

In retrospect, I don't think my youth was abnormal. Young people often find themselves feeling lost and rebellious, even preachers' kids, and sometimes especially preachers' kids. It took some hard knocks for me to finally gain my footing on the right path, and I hurt people along the way, for which I am truly sorry. I learned lessons the hard way, but I'm not sure there is any other way to learn them.

I'm glad those turbulent years are over. Aging certainly has its downside (that’s another post for another day), but aging has a way of clarifying things that once seemed hazy. You gain wisdom, for one thing. And don’t be misled. Wisdom and knowledge are not synonymous. Wisdom comes through living and learning, and seeking God's guidance.

I wish I could say that I have learned all of life’s lessons well.

I haven't.

I wish I could say that I've never made the same mistake twice.
Me, all grown up

I can't.

But, I have learned a few things. For example—YIPPEE!—I no longer need to take a quiz to know who I am. I'm not always pleased with the woman in the mirror, but at least I’m no longer in the dark. I know who I am—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Aging has also taught me that even if you don’t get the life you once envisioned for yourself—you know the one with the flawless husband, the house on a hill, and three perfectly behaved children—you can still have a wonderful life. It all comes down to three things: the choices you make, the attitude you possess, and the way you respond to whatever the seasons bring you.

I would be less than honest if I said there aren’t brief moments when I feel a bit of yearning for a younger self, when time and the world seemed endless. When defining choices had not yet been made. When children played tag in the yard. When 40 seemed old. But if aging has taught me anything, it’s this: When all is said and done, we can’t go back in time. We can’t be younger, or more innocent. Life cannot be lived backwards. As Thomas Wolfe said, “You can’t go home again.” The moment you step out of one place in time, it doesn't wait for you to return. I realize this anew every time I go back to some place I used to live. They've torn up the roads, or put in a new grocery store, or demolished an old building. The wheels of change keep on turning. And the only way to get the most out of life is by moving forward, living fully in the present.

These are my thoughts on this final Monday in August.



22 comments:

  1. I love this and could have written so much of it myself. I wish that I could go back and be younger sometimes, but not to STAY. Those years can be so painful. I would sort of like to visit in a "Peggy Sue Got Married" kind of way and give myself a do over or two... or three...

    But then I realize that the bumps in my road THEN did help to give me some of the wisdom and even more of the grace that I had have now. And plus, I got to see the hands of a merciful and patient God who loved me enough, even then, to pursue me while I was running around trying to find out who I was.

    Great post this morning.
    No surprise about that!

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  2. Very nice post, Dayle. We must all move forward and live in the present. We do get comfort with our memories of good times in the past, too. I love your big glasses in your 20 something picture. I still love my big sunglasses. One of my weaknesses!
    xoxo
    Robin

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  3. Amen! I don't see that 27 year old in the mirror too much any more, but at least I can look in the mirror and like the person on the other side. I might not always be in love with her, but that's ok. Great post!

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  4. And they were very good thoughts, Dayle. I think you look FABULOUS, by the way. You have the body of a 16 year old. I am in total accordance with your thoughts. One CANNOT go back again. The times I've tried, I ended up deeply disappointed.

    To live in the NOW is best. To live in the sunshine! To strive to do one's best at THIS MOMENT.

    Thanks for such an insightful post. Susan

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  5. Dayle,
    So true...I learned that you can't "go back again" when I had to leave my job (back in the day we didn't have maternity leave) when I had my first child. I went back for a visit later on and it was as if I had never worked there! It was a life lesson that has always stayed with me. Life moves on.

    ~Jean

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  6. Mondays, to me, are so much about GETTING somewhere - to school, to work, through the tasks of the week...this was such a peaceful reminder to e HERE. Right now!

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  7. Age is relative, and sometimes I feel pretty old. However, I am thankful that the trials and joys life has brought along the way have helped me know who I am. And this season of life is about embracing it and being who God has made me to be...and stop trying to manufacture something else. :0)

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  8. Wouldn't mind a younger body, but my old brain is non-negotiable. Live and learn. Hopefully, I've done that. P.S. You're just as beautiful as ever. And I should know.

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  9. @ Susan - friends forever, girl. ;)
    @ Gayle (aka wombie) - Awww... you're the beauty.

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  10. This is awesome, Dayle! ... I can so identify; you make me glad to be, just as I am!

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  11. Such a well written, insightful post! I think most of us did live different lives when we were younger, but, yes, age does produce wisdom.

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  12. LOVE this...I guess because I will be turning 50 soon and that age things seems to be yelling in my face...but I love what these grey hairs have taught me and for that I wouldn't go back.
    Thanks...enjoyed...expressed so well

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  13. I do have some regrets about my youth as well but your lovely post certainly helps put them in perspective. You are so right, we wouldn't be who we are today without those trials.

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  14. I have made a few bad choices in my life, some of them in this very month of August! The older I get the more I appreciate the wisdom that comes with age, and the more I embrace the satisfaction of having fewer mistakes left to make.

    Thanks for your kind words about my friends Paula and Eric. I know God is in control, and will bring healing to her in the way that brings him the most glory.

    Have a lovely day!
    Krista

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  15. Wish I would have read this post a year ago....I retired and moved back to the city where I was born. What was I thinking! You certainly cannot go back....big mistake on my part.

    Jen

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  16. I've been pondering this subject a lot lately. I have a birthday coming up soon so your post is timely for me. Thank you for this great reminder that good things come with age, not just all the bad we normally associate with it.

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  17. Oh, to be able to age gracefully. Wise words.

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  18. I am so glad you stopped by my blog...and that I have the chance to chat with you...
    Your musings on aging are right on! I remember what my sister told me... Fifty is so very freeing! She was correct. I am heading to toward the upper ranges of my fifties and I have felt more confident...ready to stretch. I am finding myself experiencing new adventures...and following through on my dreams. It is definitely the best years, yet. Not everything has been peachy, but age (insert God) has brought me a serenity that was not with me in my earlier years...Thank you, Father. I finally know what I want to do "when I grow up".
    Jane (artfully graced)

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  19. This is gorgeous Dale. I know what you mean about finally knowing yourself. I wouldn't give up the things I've learned with age for anything.

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  20. I know this is an old post, but I enjoyed reading it, and it is still relevant today. I've changed a lot too, and although I miss being young, I am happier and more content now.

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  21. I likje getting older. And of course I totally agree with you. :-)

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Dear Readers, I adore your company and your comments. If you ask questions here, I respond to them here, so please check back when you have a chance. Kind regards, Dayle