There are definitely some pluses to getting older. One of them is the ability to see things in the 'long haul'. We no longer do that, you know. See things - as they really are - and as they most likely will become if we continue as WE are.
For instance, the way we see 'Choices'.
I have come to see how much our choices matter. No, not the big choices. People today are paralyzed when making the 'big choices' - marriage, children, jobs, etc. And so they make NO choices. Young people seem to think that that keeps them safe from choosing badly. Instead, it keeps them in perpetual childhood - making no choices at all and therefore letting life (instead of themselves) choose for them. I see no-longer-young-people all the time - they have never chosen a spouse for fear of getting a bad one. They have never chosen children - for fear that it might be 'difficult'. They have never chosen 'change' - for fear that it might be, well, different from what they are 'used to'. It's sad to see actually, because you know that, inevitably, they will wake up one day and realize that it is too late to live a young person's life - when you have already gotten old.
And so I am not talking about the big choices. I am talking about the little ones. Say it's a Tuesday night after work. You have a choice. You can go home and 'veg out' due to your very hard day - or you can do something. Anything.
People who came before us, before the intoxicating paralyzers commonly known as television and computer, did A LOT after work each day. Heck, slaves were driven sometimes up to 14 hours a day - and yet still managed to come back to their shacks at night and work on things to improve their own lives. They knew it was up to them to choose. It was one of the only choices they had - and so they didn't waste it.
Instead, we veg. But we forget that 'vegging' is..... choosing.
The same with ourselves. We seem to think today that we are just the way we are - and the world must accept it. And so we put up with getting angry, because, well - there's something to get angry about. Or we put up with being impatient, because, well - there's something to be impatient about. Or we put up with being selfish because, well, aren't WE the one who really matters?
The answer is - no.
We ALL matter. And that's why we have a choice. We can CHOOSE to treat others like they do not matter as much as we do - or we can CHOOSE to realize we are just as imperfect as they and that we are all in this together.
Now that I am older, it is clear to see that what you choose slowly becomes what you are. We think that 'this one time' won't matter - but it does. Because each time changes us. Those who choose to let themselves get angry easily become, as they get older, angrier and angrier until they personify anger. Those who choose to let themselves be selfish, become, as they get older, more and more self absorbed until they personify selfishness. And those who choose to just be lazy since they are so, so tired, become, as they get older - a life with a giant period in the middle - when it should have had a comma. Or in other words, they become a dead end - where there should have been a freeway - and a brightly lit one, at that.
They may not notice it when they are young and making these choices - but it sure becomes clear as they develop into that actual choice - while aging. And when they get into their 40's and 50's is when you hear people begin to - like they are waking up to a bad dream - express shock at the 'situation' they have gotten themselves into. They don't seem to get it that the 'situation' is nothing other than the logical outcome of a lifetime of choosing.
The choice I see making me craziest right now is the one to veg, to do nothing, to waste time with toys and gimmicks that a child should play with. We are becoming a nation of grown up children - who have not had the guts to grow up! Choosing takes guts, and it takes a backbone. We have forgotten that we MAKE the choices we live with. Our spouse is only as bad as we make them by putting ourselves first. Our children are the same. And sometimes, bad things happen. But guess what? As prior generations knew, that's when you get to the see the Glory of God at work in your life - and that's when you deepen into a person of fortitude, strength and character. Until then; you're as shallow as the technological wavelengths making up the faces on your tv and computer screen. And until then - you don't know what it is - to really live.
Yes, you can choose comfort and caution all your life; and at the end of it, you will have the substance and character of pretty much a marshmallow. Wouldn't you want to choose something better than that?
Ashley and Susan
Two women asking the world to not just hope, but to Hope in Love.