I know I’m getting old, because the government told me so. When I hit 65 this summer, I’ll be officially over the hill. That’s when I become eligible for Medicare, the government program to take care of the elderly. [Although I could go off on a tangent here, I’ll resist.]
It used to be that turning 65 meant you got your gold watch on Friday, and on Monday you were out of a job. Of course that’s different these days, as many work into their 70’s and even 80’s. Don’t the Boomers preach that 50 is the new 30?
Don’t believe it.
Sixty-five still feels like ten long years past 55, and that particular decade takes a big toll, bringing nearly as many changes as the first ten years of life. Who knew?
I’ve been calling myself “middle-aged” far too long, about 25 years worth, even though recently I’ve repackaged it by saying I’m “in the autumn of middle-age.” Who’s fooling who? Lately, I’m liking the sound of being “in the spring of old age.”
I know a couple who moved to retirement housing when they were younger than I am now. Although Mom once called these places “a sea of white hair,” when she finally went to live there, she and her white hair loved it. Besides, being in the spring of old age and living with people one and two decades ahead of me might have a few fabulous perks. Wisdom falls from these people like snowflakes from the sky. If I walked beside them, some of it might just fall on me.
Mom didn’t really want to give up living in her home, which is true of most of us, but a couple of health crises dictated that she go. Once she got to the retirement village, however, she made a host of new pals and kept an ever-growing list of blessings.
None of us wants to rock our boats by moving “down” in terms of independence by leaving our own homes or by condensing our possessions by three-fourths to live in a smaller space. But there are many advantages. For example, people like me who get tired of cooking will only have to glance at the clock to know dinner is ready. And lavish dinners they’ll be, with multiple courses and choices.
And what about having a nurse on call for those occasional mishaps? When I went over the bike handlebars two weeks ago, I couldn’t manage my own drive to the emergency room and had to ask for a favor from (i.e. become a burden to) my next-door-neighbors. A nurse down the hall would have been quite convenient.
And what about dealing with all those other old-age secrets we’ve never been told about? Stiff joints in the mornings. Toe nails so thick they become hard to cut. The deterioration of night vision for driving. Mysterious aches and pains that make a person wonder what’s really wrong. How nice to live with a crowd of people who “get it.”
I’m about to officially join the Old Folks Club and get acquainted with those things and probably many more. I think of the Scripture verse that describes our bodies growing older with more problems every day. (2 Corinthians 4:16) But God encourages us in the same verse by reminding us that our inner selves, the parts that matters most, are being renewed regularly. And that’s the biggest secret among Old Folk’s Club members. While living in a retirement center, once they get to where they’re going whether it’s the dining room, the craft room, the beauty salon, the pool room, the game room or the conversation circle, they have a blast! Their daily-renewed innards have grown exceedingly wise and rich in fine character traits, although they don’t mention all that. They just wink at each other and smile at the rest of us while thinking, “Before you know it, you’ll be in our club, too.”
As for me, I’m looking forward to it!
”I pray that from [the Father’s] glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.” (Ephesians 3:16-17)