|Sharing birthdays with Evie|
I am good with being fifty-five. For me, the sevens have always been the hard birthdays. Twenty-seven. Thirty-seven. Forty-seven. All gave me a certain kind of dread. I don't know why exactly. Maybe because I was closer to the next decade than I was to the last.
Forty-seven though was the worst. My plumbing was unpredictable. I was becoming increasingly forgetful. I also weighed more than I did when I was nine-months pregnant with my last child. At my physical that year, my doctor said I had all the signs of perimenopause, the precursor to the last hurrah. Yay. Well, at least there was a reason I was going haywire mentally and physically.
I asked her about the weight gain. She said, oh yeah, that's part of it. Once a woman turns 50 and hits menopause, the default is to continue to gain weight. A woman would need to both exercise an hour more a day and decrease calories just to maintain her weight, never mind lose weight. Well, if all I could hope for after 50 was just to maintain my weight, I decided I would go into it the skinniest I possibly could.
For the next months I cut calories and worked out like a fiend. After 40 pounds lost, I recognized my face again. It felt good. I tossed out all my old clothes and bought new ones in sizes I hadn't seen since high school.
And, then, I promptly went into a full-blown midlife crisis. This was the best it was going to get before I got truly old. I grew depressed thinking of the day I'd be wearing comfortable orthopedic shoes and plucking hairs off my chin.
It took me until I turned 50 to get over the midlife crisis. Since then I've come to realize there are advantages of growing older.
For one, I have greater perspective. When my kids call to share their hardships, I tell them that things are going to turn out okay. And, I know they will. I've seen it in my own life. Sometimes it takes time--a long time, years even--but God can turn crummy things into blessings.
Yes, my memory is shot. But there's an upside to losing your memory. I can now read a book twice. I'm into the third chapter before the story line seems even vaguely familiar and I realize that I've probably read it before. Doesn't matter. I don't remember how it ends, so I keep reading.
I've become more comfortable in saying what I mean and meaning what I say. I certainly try to be gracious, but I don't have the energy or time to beat around the bush. I guess that's what it means to lose your filter.
I'm okay with the way I look. I look my age, I think. It's silly to try to be some kind of hot grandma. I'm just going for well groomed.
I think intercession is a special gifting that God gives to older people. After our last child left for college, I was sobered by the thought that the time of influence with our children was over. Had we done it right? We made so many mistakes as parents. Our sphere of influence is now in our prayers. Dave and I have an urgency to pray for young people like never before. Daily we pray for the young people in our lives, each of them by name. Our adult children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces, and the children and grandchildren of our friends.
The relationship with your children changes as you and they grow older. You become more of a mentor and cheerleader as they move into their adult lives and become parents themselves. You are honored when they come to you seeking wisdom. (That I have any wisdom to give is always a surprise to me.)
But the creme de la creme is getting grandbabies out of the deal. In the last three years, Dave and I have been blessed with three beautiful granddaughters, Evie, Hazel, and Ashton. My birthson also has two little guys: Moser and Daniel. Someone once told me that having grandchildren is like falling in love. It's true. When you think of your grandchildren, you get this soft, warm expansive feeling. You can't get enough of them and can't wait for the next time you see them. Pure joy.
But here's something else. The older I get, the less of a hold I have on this life. This life is full of joys and blessings but more than enough heartache and sorrow to go around too. We live in a broken world. All you need to do is turn on the television and listen to the news. But this life is just a dot on the line of eternity. The older I get, I think of heaven more. I long to be in the Lord's presence forever.
But until that day comes, I'm going to live my life gratefully.
Life at 55 is good.