I had my annual visit with my Dr. last week. We had a great conversation about aging. Apparently, I’m right on target for getting old! And, although I don’t have control over the inevitable aging process – apparently, I’m making some good decisions.
My Dr.’s number one point of advice is – stay active. Second point is – take care of yourself. He mentioned that when examining younger people, for example – a person in their 40’s – he can tell who is and who is not taking care of themselves. He knows who is active. And he can figure out who has a positive perspective. Gee, that’s good stuff.
I’m guessing not many 20 year-olds think about aging. 30 year-olds? 40 year-olds? Maybe. Life still looks pretty good to most people in those decades, unless tragedy has cut into normal life.
I used to think getting old was far away. But it is always very close, continually happening. Quiet. Persistent. Unavoidable. It’s influence bends you into someone you didn’t used to be – body, mind, and spirit. You decide if that bend is for the good – or not.
Sooner or later, it happens to everyone. Memory struggles. Needing more lists. Your stride slows a bit. Joints hurt. Muscles and bones ache. Afternoon nap? Sometimes you start telling a joke and just can’t remember the punch line. Health issues invade. You need glasses for your eyes, aids for your ears, color for your hair.
Aging brings losses. And most people grieve them. Yet, aging only wields whatever power you give it. Whether aging strips you is up to you.
How Does Aging Strip You
The stripping of aging depends partially on how you think and definitely on how you live. So, a person who wants to age well puts thought into how they let themselves think. They put intentionality into how they live. Just as a 20 year-old can increase odds for good health in later years with healthy choices, so thinking and living with positive aging concepts brings deep meaning to your life.
Healthy people put all thoughts through a thinking grid. Phil. 4:8-9 gives a grid for “stay-young-yet-be-mature” thinking. Whatever doesn’t pass through the grid, you throw into a trash can right outside your mind. Positive, true thoughts pull you up and build hope. Practicing cheer and thankfulness affects your mental and emotional state. Solving problems instead of stewing promotes confidence, courage, and credibility. Acting nobly, enjoying what is lovely, aiming for admirable, setting your sites on excellent character – these things promote both youth and wisdom!
Get to it! Don’t just sit. Engage your life with passion. Physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally. Do things with all your heart and might. Some things will never diminish, age, or decline. Strive to be healthy. Inquisitive. Pro-active. Learn. Grow. Serve. Work. Celebrate. Engage in relationships. Hobbies. Reading. Great food. Exercise. Worship.
If you train yourself to focus on God’s thoughts, honoring Him, and adopting His ways – aging bends you better.
There’s nothing wrong with grieving losses as you age. That’s being realistic. But to let grieving strip you of joys and opportunities, that’s tragic. Make your aging a gift of faith you give back to God. He has already promised to give you complete fullness of life that will last forever when your earthly life closes. You don’t end. You go on. And you will never think of aging negatively again as the years add up in eternity. Aging will only continue to be fabulous! God has given you a future and a hope. (Jer. 29:11)
Strip aging of its negative power. Live each day thoughtfully with passion. Embrace your future with hope. Let aging bend you in a positive way. Draw close to Jesus Christ who never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Heb. 13:8)
“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Ps. 46:10a) “You who seek God, may your hearts live . . . [forever!]” (Ps. 69:32b)