Joan Clayton: Religion columnist
Believe it or not, advantages come with growing older and you can be happy about it. Our culture puts a premium on youth and beauty. Television commercials are flooded with products that supposedly keep us young looking. Extreme makeovers are “in,” despite the pain and expense. I think we should try to look our best, but to be preoccupied with youth and beauty to the point of near bankruptcy financially is disastrous. Anorexia and bulimia emerge as panaceas in becoming acceptable.
The underlying message is “the young and beautiful” get all the breaks, including money, attention, superior lifestyles and the list goes on. Behind this message is another “message.” You rarely read about the compromises, the health deterioration, the temptations, addictions, deprivations and disappointments that overcome some who spend millions to preserve youth and happiness. I am reminded in Psalm 112:1-2 of the solution for happiness at any age: “Happy are those who respect the LORD, who want what he commands. Their descendants will be powerful in the land; the children of honest people will be blessed.” (NCV)
I have seen self-esteem go down the tube as some begin to get older, feeling useless and unwanted. To that I say, “ God has a purpose for you and you are a person of worth. You have extraordinary wisdom from life’s experiences that need to be shared. Your prayers have high priority and the world needs you.”
Getting older does not mean you are unacceptable. God says in Proverbs 16:31: “Gray hair is a crown of splendor, it is attained by a righteous life.”
I love Caleb’s attitude in Joshua 14. His faith in God never waned. He served God with vigor and optimism from the beginning. “…So here I am today eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day.
You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said” (Joshua 14:10-12 NIV).
Yea Caleb! What a guy! We may not be facing armies like Caleb but surely we can have a winning spirit.
The golden years can be filled with things you never had time for previously. Now you have time to pursue hobbies. Who knows but what you may become an entrepreneur in your own right.
Volunteer time to charitable organizations. The more you give yourself away, the happier you will be.
Keep a positive self-image. You are important to society.
Share the wisdom you have accumulated, especially just good old common sense. The world needs it.
Relax and laugh. Laugh and the world laughs with you. Find humor in simple things.
Keep up personal grooming. Put on perfume and flaunt it.
Give hugs and compliments freely.
Remember, “…the joy of the LORD will make you strong” (Nehemiah 8:10 NIV). “But for you who honor me, goodness will shine on you like the sun, with healing in its rays” (Malachi 4:2 NCV).
Be happy you are getting older and make life “delicious!”
I’ve made my list for when I’m 90 I will wave at train engineers, wear false eyelashes and bat them at my husband, eat chocolate pie for breakfast, hold up “bunny fingers” behind people’s heads, bleach chin hairs because I won’t have time to shave, buy a life insurance policy while looking forward to the next birthday and write a book called “People Are Crazier Than Me.”
I’ll be happy ever step of the way. You can be happy too!
Forget your age and enjoy life!