Today is my fifty-fourth birthday, which means I'm one birthday away from senior citizen discounts. Hey, you have to look at the positives, right?
Much is written about the transition into adulthood. But not nearly as much about the transition to becoming a senior citizen. As I've been thinking about non-milestone number, several thoughts come to mind:
1. I don’t know as much as I used to. In my thirties, I was quite confident in what I believed. But loss, tragedies and other hardships came along and convinced me otherwise. I find myself saying, "I don't know" far more often these days. I'm still certain of some things, like God sending his son to offer us redemption and then going on to prepare a place for the redeemed. And I'm certain of God's sovereignty. Those three truths are pretty solid things to hang my hat on.
2. While I have regrets, I’ve learned not to dwell on them. That doesn't mean I don't need to process them. I certainly do. But my regrets aren't an anchor that weighs me down. They are bigger than speed bumps, though. So what's the right analogy? Maybe I should just refer to them as wrong decisions and leave them at that. All a person can do is learn from his mistakes and move on.
3. We leave behind three things: possessions/money, memories and the way we made others feel. The latter is the most important. Memories are the second most important. As for possessions, not so much. In fact, as I've written about before, possessions often end up in cardboard boxes in someone else's basement, never to be opened again. If I can keep these priorities in the right order, then I'll be happy.
4. Close relationships matter now more than ever — the kind in which you can pick up the phone at 2:00 a.m. and call a person without apologizing. I hope my closest friends know they can call me anytime.
5. Cutting losses is the right thing to do. This isn’t the same thing as giving up when things get difficult. Cutting losses means knowing deep in your gut when it’s time to move on and then having the courage to do it. My pattern has been to hang on for far too long. I don’t have time for that anymore. Well, I never really had time for that, but you know what I mean.
6. Heaven feels more real. When I was young in the faith, I knew that heaven was real but it also felt distant. Now that I’m one year from senior citizen status, it feels more tangible. I find myself paying more attention to the Scripture verses that talk about it, and then daydreaming about what it'll be like.
7. I have a deep desire to finish the Christian life well. I've written a whole book about that, which I’m currently working on an expanded version of, so I won't get into it here.
What’s on your list of things you are thinking about as you get older? What have you changed your mind about or what feels more real now than it did ten years ago?