Turning 70 years old in early November means I'll soon be putting a pretty big round number up on God's tote board. But it's only a number and all it really means is that I've had a lot more yesterdays than I will have tomorrows.
Reaching age 70 seems to have gotten here faster than I thought it would. My friend, Maylon Rice, who like me is no spring chicken, recently shared something on his Facebook page which was written by an unknown person but someone who is clearly on up in years. It captured a few of my own thoughts as I approach my 70th birthday:
"And then it is winter. Time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years. It seems just like yesterday that I was young yet in a way it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went. I know that I lived them all. I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams. But, here it is...the winter of my life and it catches me by surprise...How did I get here so fast? Where did the years go and where did my youth go? I remember well seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me and that winter was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine what it would be like. But, here it is..."
Does entering my 70's mean I'm now squarely planted in the winter of life? Basic arithmetic would suggest so. I'm at peace with that even though over the years I've sometimes tried to convince myself old age was 20 years older that I actually was at the time. I'm too old now to play that mind game. So it's official--I've now entered the ranks of the elderly.
Believe me, I'm not complaining about growing older because it sure beats the alternative. It's a privilege to reach an age which indisputably makes me a "senior citizen." I'm lucky to have lived this long already and to still be in good health. Many are not that fortunate. So my predominant feelings about hitting 70 are gratitude for the healthy and blessed life I've had for so many years, thankfulness for all those, starting with my parents, who have helped me along the way and the crystal-clear understanding that life doesn't end at 70.
Statistics show people generally live a lot longer now than they did years ago. With continuing advancements in healthcare, it's even said by some that 70 is the new 50 or 60. But that doesn't really matter. All that truly counts is the knowledge and belief that life is a gift at any age.
Each of us confront growing older in our own way. As for me, I'll simply continue to live for today and strive to make the most out of each day, always mindful of something Eleanor Roosevelt once said: " Today is the oldest you've ever been, and the youngest you'll ever be again."
Life is a journey, rarely perfect and often challenging. Through all the good and bad and all the ups and downs, one can choose to be happy or sad. Regardless of how many years I have left, I'm determined to keep choosing happiness over melancholy as often as I can, for as long as I can.
Because of the lyrics, I've always loved the song "Forever Young" written by Bob Dylan. The older I get, the more I love it. Here are part of the lyrics:
May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
And may you stay Forever young
May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
And may you stay
I've never been 70 before so I'm not sure what one is supposed to feel like at this age. I only know I don't feel old yet and still believe I'm young at heart. I guess I'm about to find out if it's true you are never too old to feel young.