When I was in my late twenties, we had a revival at the church I was pastoring that was not going well. My Mom called for an update on the revival. I said, “Well, the evangelist is not real good plus he is 65!” My Mom responded, “I am 65! What is wrong with that?” It was at this point that I quickly developed my “young 65 versus old 65 ” theory. Mom, of course, was a young 65. She neither looked or acted her age.
To be honest, at 25, 65 looked ancient! Senior citizenry began at 55! Surely, 65 was full of creaking and arthritis! On February 7, 1953, I turn 60! In those 35 years since my “young versus old” theory came into existence, I have come to realize that 60 ain’t what it used to Be!
For one thing, 60 is much younger than it used to be! My new “old standard” is 102! That’s old! But 60 is just a state of mind! I do not feel a day over 59! I do creak, but not as much as I thought I would! I still wear glasses, but they are reading glasses now. For people my age, reading glasses are a sign of maturity. I am still young enough to remember both the Byrds and Angry Birds! If you give me a little time, I can learn something on the computer. I can text, instant message, facebook, twitter and talk about the “golden days” of baseball when players played for the love of the game.
Young, young people can only remember today’s Super Bowl. I remember the first Super Bowl when the Packers reigned. They only know about Tom Brady. I remember Bart Starr and Johnny Unitas. Vince Lombardi was not just a name on a trophy. Doping was about a person who wasn’t very smart. Grass was something you mowed in the summer. A mouse was an animal that you tried to trap.
At 60, your vision is much clearer than it used to be! I had my second cataract surgery last week. For the first time in my life, I have 20-20 vision for distances. Everything I have ever known about seeing has changed. I have worn glasses since I was in third grade, because everything was fuzzy except for the letters on a page. I should have had glasses prior to that time, but while I waited for the eye test in first and second grade, I memorized the lines of letters as I listened to the person ahead of me! Thank goodness they never changed the test.
Now, I find I can see distances perfectly, but can’t see where to sign the restaurant bill without help. I can also see more clearly what really matters. So much of what I thought was important in life has faded away. All the energy you spend “climbing the ladder” only makes you tired and then re-tired. Dreaming of how your children will be the President of the United States is replaced with finding pride in the fact that they are good, moral people. I have tried to tell young pastors that “after it is all said and done, it will be the stories that will remain.” Success in life is found in relationships. I can see that now!
At 60, I am not as needy as I used to be! I found an unwrapped comb in my bathroom drawer the other day. I laughed and then placed it in the Goodwill bag. I don’t need “things” near as much. At Christmas, I truly find it is “better to give than receive.” We need to spoil the grandkids, enjoy a good meal with friends while loving and encouraging the people around us. My identity is not based on the things I have. Personally, I am thankful that my 1998 Pontiac Transport starts after 245,000 miles! I don’t need someone to say “Great car!” like I used to.
At 60, it is easier to distinguish between “wants” and “needs.” Good health comes more to the forefront of our thinking. Spending more time with the family becomes a more important need than “working 80 hours a week.” We slow down, not because we have to, but because we want to. Most of the time, contentment is easier to find.
At 60, I am more dependent than I used to be! I am more dependent on God, because I realize that every time I tried to do it myself, I really struggled! There are a lot of things I don’t understand, but I realize that God is the only One to turn to. Because I don’t “run” from one event to another, I have a little more time to listen. I am more dependent on my family, because I realize that my wife has become my best friend and the kids will not always be close by.
Finally, at 60, time flies much quicker. My Great Aunt Fern lived to be 95 (one week shy of being 96). I can remember her saying, “When you get into your 90s, time moves faster. This year, I will live 1/95th of my life. Seventy years ago, it was just 1/25th of my life.” One of the unique characteristics of having been a pastor is that it is hard to remember which people attended what church. I keep thinking that Helen Haase knew Helen Fesmire or Grandma Massey knew Grandma Miller. It is all kind of a blur. It is especially hard when you see “children” that you dedicated who are having their second or third child.
At 60, I am aware that I need to make my time count. I try not to waste many days. I don’t think I am going to feel60 next week! I doubt that much will change in 24 hours, but it is different! Thank goodness, however, I am a different person than I was when I was young! As tempting as it might be to go back in time, I wouldn’t!