Nothing can replace the joys of getting old

by | Aug 28, 2023 | Faith, Family, Writing and Reading | 8 comments |

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:


  1. Keith Kenny

    People age differently. A favorite saying of mine is “The creative adult is the child who survived.” Aging gracefully is a blessing.

    • Carole Duff

      So true, so true, so true!

  2. aschmeisser

    Getting old’s what I won’t do,
    however hard I bloody try.
    I am just so nearly through,
    and in youth I’m gonna die.
    Not like Housman’s boy athlete,
    carried home on deserved laurels.
    No, my legacy is complete
    only if it holds the quarrels
    of stupid stuff that I thought vital,
    of my preening selfish care.
    Makes me think maybe the title
    of the memoir that lays bare
    the life that I had made become
    us, “Dude, Was I Really That Dumb?”

    • Carole Duff

      That dumb? Oh yes, I can identify!

        • Carole Duff


  3. bigskybuckeye

    Carole, it has been awhile since I’ve been here. I appreciate your thoughts as life’s journey matures. Thank you for sharing more about Keith’s writing adventures.

    • Carole Duff

      Welcome back, Richard!


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