“We never really grow up; we only learn how to act in public” – unknown
As I approach the milestone age of fifty, I can truly appreciate the many moments I have experienced alone and the ones I have shared with others. Many of my fondest and not so fond childhood memories seem like they only happened yesterday. Time certainly does not stop for anyone. As a child I remember playing outside feeling like I would always be young, but wanting to be like the older kids. I suppose it’s the cycle of life that we all face while growing up.
I’m not quite sure why this evening I am thinking about such things, but perhaps its the fact that I am reflecting about my oldest daughter, who will turn eighteen just in a few days. It seems surreal to think she will be an adult soon, but again another cycle of life I suppose.
One thing is for sure about growing up is we never really feel like we are at “that age” yet. I mean, I have no desire to go backwards, but often times I feel vibrant, youthful and full of energy, but the last time I attempted to play an intense game of basketball (on asphalt mind you) with a twenty-something year old, I certainly felt pain the next morning. Actually it was more than pain, I could barely walk. Or what really gets me in my place is when my children remind me that I am no longer cool, just older. Whatever! Although I am fully aware that my physical stature and abilities are ever-changing I still consider myself young at heart. To put it simply, I don’t feel my age, whatever that is supposed to mean. So off to working out at the gym, 4-5 days a week I go. I even hired a personal trainer one day/week (Thanks Collin) to help me achieve my goals.
So what is this feeling that we’re suppose to have when we feel all grown up? I mean I pay my bills on time and take care of my responsibilities like I should, but the next thing I knew I was forty-seven, even though yesterday felt like I was playing with my marbles at the park. Again, the years seem to zoom by. The one thing that clearly reminds me that I am indeed getting older is the man in the mirror. It allows me to recognize the gray hairs, the lines forming on my face and the undeniable fact that my body is aging, but as we all know, there is more to getting older than physical appearances.
At the end of the day, the heart of us is who we authentically are. The heart represents our thoughts, desires and aspirations. Our words may say one thing, but the actions we take truly declare who and what we are. The phrase, “being young at heart”, can truly embody the core of what we think about ourselves. So be sure to recognize the words that precede out of your mouth, for they may be speaking what’s at the core of your heart.
So whether you’re approaching fifty or eighty, being old is a state of the heart, not just the mind. Our youthfulness should not be determined by the distance we can run, or the amount of energy we have in day, for we all will face circumstances that will undoubtedly impact those abilities and at that time, but if we give up we certainly lose. That said, I choose to live a healthy lifestyle versus dieting, I chose to get a trainer so he can push me when I want to quit, I try to do something everyday that challenges me and I refuse to compare that decision to someone else’s. Our lives should be led like running a marathon. We’re not racing against anyone, but ourselves, so we must pace ourselves for the long haul. The key is to finish strong.
I can only be the best me. No one can do that better. This is what God has given me. My brain, my hands, my arms and legs, my gifts and my heart. I will use each one everyday until I cannot. Some days I will fail, some days I will indeed feel the numbers that reflect my age, but I will never quit. I will always be growing up, because when I stop I will most surely die. Perhaps not physically, but certainly where it matters. In my heart.