Nothing can replace the joy of having family here to celebrate my not-to-terribly-strange-to-be-seventy birthday plus two. Loved ones help us mark significant milestones and remind us of hard-won lessons.
Becoming old does not replace who we were before
As Andrea Carlisle wrote in There Was an Old Woman: Reflections on these strange, surprising, shining years, “Who we become in old age is the elder within who finally manifests.” I am the sum of my past selves: child, adolescent, young adult with children, adult with adolescents, mature adult with adult children. Now the old woman has joined the party.
Entering the third stage of life is similar to the transition between childhood and adulthood. Both are thresholds; both include struggles—and potentials.
One of the advantages of personal essay writing is the opportunity to think about ourselves from an older and hopefully wiser perspective. Who am I now does not replace who I was. Rather I the old woman can deepen her understanding of past experiences and relationships. For instance, seeing my parents as human beings rather than gods.
Becoming old does not replace past lessons
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is about how my lack of faith impacted everything. Without faith, I was handicapped and messed up—a lot. I did not introduce my children to a foundation in faith until they were well into grade school and beyond. But growth at any age is a blessing—mine and theirs.
Andrea Carlisle: “It feels good to reach an age when you can truly understand the heart’s complexities. It’s a little cathedral within from which hard-won lesson, eternal mysteries, love, and sustenance flow, a constant author of replenishment. Sometimes people learn all this early on, but many of us can only come to deeply know the heart if we get to live a long life.”
Becoming old does not replace present opportunities
I don’t know how long I’ll live. But as long as I’m alive, I know God has a purpose for me. One is to be a good helpmate to Keith, who is a good helpmate to me.
Another purpose is to explore opportunities. Keith and I are both writers now. His science fiction novel The Starflower released ten days ago, and my memoir Wisdom Build Her House will be available next year. In the meantime, we’re both publishing shorter pieces. Click this link for Keith’s latest posted to his blog site, and this link for my essay in Saturday’s Huffington Post.
Best of all, becoming old does not replace our love of God and others and faith in the future.
Linkup with Five Minute Friday: https://fiveminutefriday.com/2023/08/24/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-replace/