“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” C. S. Lewis
Like Peter Pan, I’ve often thought of myself as the proverbial child. The thought of growing old was never appealing. Doing childish things wasn’t a choice, it was an obligation. In so doing, I never really did grow up. I try finding the joy in the silly things. I stand tall even when my weary frame is folding. I put on a happy face when my heart is full of tears. A Pollyanna sort of philosophy, I guess. However, aging is truly over-rated.
I was reminded of that yesterday as I had the opportunity to sit in on a rehearsal of young actors. When I revealed my age, there were sighs of wonder and amazement. How did I live this long? How could I still be moving on my own effort? It got me thinking about how much I need the energy of young people to keep me energized.
When we reach these elder years of life, it’s easy to sit in a recliner and watch the world slip into oblivion. The road less traveled becomes appealing. The quiet moments and times of solitude are fine for a while, but then what? More quiet moments, leading to more inactivity, resulting in lack of enthusiasm and zest for living.
I have been “officially retired” for a year now. It’s easy to see a pattern within my life. I don’t consider myself to be a workaholic, but I am not one to shirk work either. I’ve discovered over this past year that I cannot not work. I was raised with a strong work ethic. I learned in my marriage that one has to work hard to succeed and survive. I’ve discovered through raising a family, that I’m not the important one in my life and that doesn’t bother me. I love seeing others flourish and grow. If I can be an element in that growth, I’ve gained more than they have.
God gives each of us gifts to use throughout our lives – even when we feel we may no longer serve a purpose – even when our bones creak, our voices crack, our skin wrinkles and most of our bulk is now hanging down around the waist and hips. As long as we have life – a long as breath is surging through our nostrils – as long as God allows us time on this planet – we have a job to do.
We don’t have to grow up. Life can be a blast if we allow it to be, or it can become drudgery if we let it. When we think that way, we need to start thinking like children again.