Thursday, August 30, 2007


“You formed my inmost being;
You knit me in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, so wonderfully you made me;
Wonderful are your works!
My very self you knew;
My bones were not hidden from you,
When I was being made in secret,
Fashioned as in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes foresaw my actions;
In your book all are written down;
My days were shaped, before one came to be.”
Psalm 139:13-16

I never had difficulty with an upcoming birthday before this year. At 30, I felt I had accomplished much and was looking forward to what the next decade held for me. But as this summer approached, 35 seemed to loom over me like a grey cloud threatening a thunderstorm. I started seeing furrows in my forehead and wrinkles around my eyes.

A close friend, age 41, said she also felt like 25 and 35 were big turns of age. It was like she was mentally rounding up to the next decade. So at 35 it felt like she was nearing 40 for a whole five years. By the time she was 40 it was no big deal; she had had five years to get used to the idea.

I reread “The Golden Key”, by George MacDonald, in perfect time for this milestone. The fairytale made me see aging in a whole new light, as a journey to the afterlife, with both wisdom and beauty increasing with age. I started noticing more ads for Botox, fillers, and plastic surgery. I was disgusted at the shallow, empty promises of a false face hiding one’s true self that should emerge with the passing of each decade.

Sitting at the beach this evening, I thought of the joy that accompanies the wisdom of age. For in youth there is a confusion and uncertainty, hidden by nonstop activity and endless energy. With age we become more certain of what we treasure; if that be truly valuable in God’s sense and not the world’s, the security of what we hold brings serenity.

As we realize we are indeed aging, certain new fears may emerge – such as fears of heights that never existed before; and the fear of death, nonpresent in our youth (“We’re only immortal for a limited time,” sings RUSH) makes us appreciate the life that we have. As our parents grow older we come to appreciate them even more.

And so I do believe that as we grow older our capacity for true happiness actually increases.

I very much would like to hear what my readers have to say on the subject!

1 comment:

Joanna said...

I hope that your birthday was a wonderful one! I only wish I could be there to celebrate beside you! Know that you are a truly beautiful woman no matter how many wrinkles. And, I loved your encouragement both through your thoughts on aging and in our conversation tonight.