“So, as we continue to grow up, our prostates will also continue to grow,” my doctor told me at a recent visit. My doctor isn’t nearly as funny as he thinks he is. But it did get me thinking about growing older.
Contrary to what I thought in my 30s, there’s nothing to dread about being older than 50. There’s actually a lot to like about it.
Yes, my kids are grown, but empty-nesting isn’t always everything it’s cracked up to be. Turns out I don’t have much more time for myself now than when all the kids were home.
Retirement is still too far away to see. I don’t have grandkids yet (my friends who do swear by them). Oh yeah, and my body reminds me, more insistently each day, that I’m no longer in my 30s.
But here’s what’s great about it: I’m figuring out a lot of things about life that just wouldn’t come into focus before. And reaching a calm, settled peace with them.
Some of those things are simply miraculous. Consider my wife, who I married in my early 20s. I just have to shake my head and thank God that he led me to such a wonderful woman at a time when I knew and understood so little.
And then there are some choices – like the decision to give my life to Jesus Christ – that have absolutely made me, and I’ve never regretted them for an instant.
Other things, like what I studied in college, the jobs I’ve taken — if I knew then what I know now, I would probably want to change.
But can I say with certainty that I would change things? Would I still be who I am now? Would I have the same dear friends? My kids, who I love more than life itself – would they have ever been born? It’s the conundrum of every time travel story: If you could change your past, how would it change your present?
When looking at it that way, then no, I’m not sure I would change anything.
Ten years ago, I was still fighting it. Still believing if I made the right changes in career or location, things would “fall into place” and I would find peace. Even just five years ago, on the cusp of my 50s, I still didn’t get it, although I was starting to suspect something.
Cliches like “Life is a journey” are far too easy. Instead, I’ve learned that even while praying for and following God’s leading, I’ll still make mistakes, take wrong turns, and waste time on useless things.
Even in the center of God’s will, life won’t be perfect…but I will become “Me” in the process.
Any depth of character I have at all comes from God walking with me through those missteps and wrong-way treks down one-way streets.
So, could my 54-year-old life be better if I had done things differently? Yes, it could (but I’d need to define “better” first). Would it be better?
No, I can’t say for sure it would.