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Embrace and enjoy every stage of life.

I refuse to look back thinking days were better
Just because they’re younger days~ One Republic

It has become a common occurrence recently to encounter women my age with attire, comportment, and attitudes commonly associated with a younger generation of women. It was something  I noted but rarely verbalized, particularly with the proliferation of the athelisure fashion trend.

However when my husband, who pays little attention to such things, noticed it enough to remark on the startling numbers of middle aged and older women he sees wearing clothing unbecoming on women of a certain age and build, not to mention behaving with very little decorum, I knew it wasn’t simply my overly critical imagination.

Our culture’s insistent implication that life after 30 is no life at all has permeated the cultural consciousness and women in particular seem to be fighting tooth and nail against the realities of aging. After hanging out with a friend today who seemed downright giddy at the prospect of joining her husband in their 40’s three weeks from now, I was struck by how uncommon her attitude is.

Having not been immune to the temptation to cringe at the reality of my own mortality and aging, I want to spare my daughters the dread our current media habits and cultural trends works to instill in people no longer in the throes of youthful discovery. I want them to know and understand that there is a lot of life to live and enjoy as you begin to walk in the wisdom acquired, skills learned, and love discovered during one’s youth.

The quote at the top of this post was one I heard while riding in the car with our daughter. Yes, it’s popular music with all the banality that implies, but that line stayed with me because there’s a good bit of wisdom buried in it. It certainly made me think and it was a great catalyst for conversation.

Never trust anyone over the age of 30~ Jack Weinberg

Because my friend Hearth already articulated this pretty well, I’ll quote her before adding a few more thoughts of my own.

The Worship of Youth comes in as many forms as a centipede has legs, but at its core there is a concentration on the good things that come with the stage of life when most of us are running about finding mates and figuring out what we’re going to do with our lives.  That potential is something that the modern doesn’t want to let go of, even well after that stage of life has ended.  The value in maturing, having confidence in one’s skills, being slower to speak …. they’re completely devalued, at least until retirement age.  This weakens the Christian, because it concentrates us 1) on the World and the Flesh *very* effectively and 2) reduces the number of mature people (much less mature, committed Christians) to have as pillars of our communities and examples of life well lived.   On the contrary, our examples are those who have held onto youth with teeth and toenails.   This worship has seriously weakened our families and marriages.

My twenties was a wonderful time of my life. The twenties were my first decade of life not marked with tragedies and struggles. I met and married the love of my life, gave birth to our first three children, and came into an awareness of faith which  had eluded me throughout my youth and teen years. Not to mention, I had vitality, energy, and a much better body. Even after giving birth.

I enjoyed that stage of my life, but the 30’s were a beautiful time as well. Our two youngest children were born when I was in my 30’s. My understanding of myself, my husband, and what it means to truly love grew exponentially during those years. Benevolent dictator and I, being much more grounded than we were in our twenties, began to develop a clearer vision of what we wanted our family to look like, its mission, how we would educate our children and prepare to launch them into the world. There are things that weren’t on our radar screen at all when we were in our early twenties.

In our 40’s, everything seems better now than it was 20 years ago, with the exception of the normal physical stuff that happens when one hits this stage of life. The normal wear and tear is nothing compared to the level of security, understanding, faith, and growth that has taken place over the past 20 years. Truth be told, and we both marvel at the fact, it seems the depth of love in our marriage exceeds what it was in the beginning. I confess that I occasionally suspect what might be happening is that our memories aren’t as good as we think they are. Either way, it’s a good time. Not perfect, but very, very good.

We look forward in anticipation to what comes next, and although I know each successive decade not only means we’re older but puts us closer to the grave, there is peace even in that reality. Death is not the end, after all. And yet, everything around us screams at us to fight a futile, angst ridden battle against the inevitable in some weird attempt to pretend youth long past the years when it’s not even possible to fool a blind man about how old we are. As if the knowledge we’ve gained as we live is worth nothing at all.

You have no internal compass nor a solid grasp of your beliefs after 40 years of life? “It’s great that you’re so open!” At least that’s the cultural line because to be sure of anything is to be dogmatic after all. There is however, such a thing as being so open minded your brain falls out, and that’s what we see around us today. People of all ages with little maturity and no firm sense of being thinking that it’s a great way to live.

Always learning, never coming to a knowledge of the truth. Without the bloom of youth, why is it something to be celebrated that you’re as dumb at 40 as you were at 20? How is that to your credit? I’ll answer. It isn’t.

Most of us have a good 50 years of life ahead after the first 30 have passed (give or take a few years). The smart move is to live in the moment. Make choices with the understanding that the next stage of life is built on the foundation laid in the stage before it. That means embrace this stage of life, whatever it is. Don’t waste time trying to grasp at the winds of a time which has already passed. It really just looks foolish.

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1 thought on “Embrace and enjoy every stage of life.”

  1. In the interest of transparency, since I mentioned “athleisure”:

    I went into the grocery store on my way home recently in a pair of these, although I did have a long shirt on with them. So I’m not into such an inflexible way of living that I would burn extra gas passing by the store to go home and change before coming back just because I am wearing running tights.

    My point here is much bigger than dogmatic minutiae about what we should or shouldn’t wear.

    Like

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