I was on the London underground recently. A strange thing happened to me. It was very embarrassing. It was the first time it has ever happened in my life. It took me completely by surprise. I didn’t know how to handle it. I was standing by the door as I usually do when out of the blue, a young Asian man got up out of his seat and offered it to me. I thought he had made a mistake. I embarrassed him as much as myself by refusing to sit in his place. So we both stood and looked pretty silly. It had not occurred to me that I looked like an elderly man. I smiled and thanked him. I suppose my real mistake was not colouring my hair when the first grey hairs began to appear. Now it is too late. You would notice, and in any case I’ve been overruled at home.
You can mask the signs of aging and you can even lie about your age, but there are always consequences. I had an elderly couple come to see me recently asking me to sign a new marriage certificate for them. One of them had lied about their age 40 years ago in order to get married. Now 40 years later it had created complications. Their pension was being queried. So the marriage certificate had to be amended to match their birth certificate.
This Summer I turned 60. It was a significant moment receiving my Senior’s Railpass.
I feel like a little boy again. Oliver Wendell Holmes said “People do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.” And that’s the challenge, managing the tension and sometimes the aches and pains between how we feel on the inside and what we can do on the outside. Mark Twain once said, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”
Success truly knows no boundaries. Many people have achieved their dreams much later life. I was a slow developer at school, but do you know how old Harlan Sanders was when he opened his first Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant? 65. How old was Ronald Reagan when he became President of the United States? 16 days before his 70th birthday. How old was Golda Meir when she became Prime Minister of Israel? 70. How old was Nelson Mandela when he became President of South Africa? 74.
How old do you have to be to start living? That is your choice. The older I get, the more I want to get out of life. The greater the impact I want to have. Retire and play it safe? No! I want to live more dangerously, take more risks, learn new things, and make every day count.
I may be wearing out but I am not giving up. Hardening of the viewpoints is far more lethal than hardening of the arteries.
That is why I am really excited that the new Good News Café for Seniors (or Silver Surfers if you prefer) open every Thursday afternoon and not just monthly. We aim to host a growing number of events and activities that you want and that will motivate you to get the most out of the wonderful gift of life the Good Lord has given you. Every day is a gift from God. A new beginning. An exciting adventure, knowing we were created with meaning and with purpose. God’s plan? To know God, and serve him and enjoy him forever and ever. The Apostle Paul wrote about this,
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
May God bless you and those you love.