Not so much hooray for people who say "So. How does it feel? Now that you're almost 40."
I have no problem with being this close to 40. I don't think I'll have a problem when I get this close to 50 or 60 either. (Nearing 120 I might start to wonder what's going on, but that's a topic for a different post.) I like greying hair. I like not being expected to feel spunky after pulling an all-nighter -- I like not being expected to pull all-nighters. I like having a back pocket full of experiences that give me wisdom, help me connect with others, and let me share strength with those who are just now walking through valleys I've already passed through.
What I don't like is the gloating patronizing tone of the people who ask how I feel about getting older. As though I should feel guilty for not remaining young -- and not wanting to.
Being young is great (or was great, depending on your perspective) but so is being older. So is maturity, experience, growth, wisdom... There is grace in aging and beauty in the fading of flowers. The human heart holds more each year, the mind expands, the spirit is honed.
To the woman some 20 years my elder, who commented on my being "over the hill" with a glee that suggested she had found my Achilles heel... the woman who mentioned my age 23 times in a five minute conversation ... and the woman who questioned my mental capacities "now that you're getting so old.": Get over it.
If I have not matured, if I have not learned from these years I have lived, perhaps I should be embarrassed by my age. Thank goodness I'm not ashamed.
If I can not offer more compassion, more basic human respect, and more understanding of others with each passing year perhaps I ought not to claim my true age. Praise God I have no need to lie.
If I didn't think there's so much more to learn and love about the years to come perhaps I could worry about being old. Thank goodness I am spared those worry lines.
If I did not believe in filling each year with a record of obedience to the Lord and service to others, then maybe the piling up of those years would concern me. Praise God for helping me make each new year better than the last.
... because time passes
... the flowers fade
... the sun rises, sets, and hurries to rise again
... the waters travel to the sea
... man is born of a woman, only to return to dust
... the histories and generations come and go
... and time passes
For everything there is a season, there is a time for every matter under heaven...and God seeks out what has gone by. -- Ecclesiastes 3:1, 15b