Most of us have heard the saying, “youth is wasted on the young”. I don’t know if I agree completely with that statement, but I do have a few regrets that have helped me learn how to deal with aging.
Aging has helped me with one of my regrets; focusing on the superficial. I had a particular situation that not seeing past the superficial made life difficult.
At around age 21, I was working at a neighborhood grocery. There was a guy! I was pretty smitten since I thought he was so handsome. Because I was basically infatuated, I missed how completely incompatible we were.
He wasn’t a bad person. It just took a lot of energy for me to be around him. He was extremely particular, and he liked his surroundings to be perfect. I was the exact opposite and didn’t see the value in keeping up with such details.
Had I been less enamored by his looks, I think I would have seen this sooner, but I was young and didn’t know what was important in relationships.
The benefits of dealing with aging from a Godly perspective have helped me grow from my regrets and begin to embrace the aging process.
How to Deal with Aging?
Most of us have moments of doubt and struggle to learn how to deal with aging, and I think society places too much emphasis on the superficial. I believe if we root our identity in God, we can overcome these moments with confidence, dignity, purpose, and grace.
Do you think God sends life experiences for you to learn a lesson? I feel this has happened to me many times. Here are 5 tips that have helped me learn how to deal with aging.
- Dealing with Aging by Focusing on Inner Beauty
Once, when I was about thirteen, God sent me one of these lessons. Coincidentally, I was assisting at a summer preschool, and my mother was also working there.
Now, at that age, around the middle school years, we are often consumed by the superficial; and not necessarily thrilled with our parents. I was one of those ingrates.
My mom didn’t worry much about make-up, clothes, or hair. I good-naturedly made fun of her polyester pants. She was such a good sport, she listened to me and bought cotton pants. Turned out she loved those pants!
One day, we were sitting outside watching the kids play in the yard. She was sitting next to me with a child in the crook of her arm. He was the type of child, who often had a rough time. He just seemed grumpy to me. I distinctly remember this little guy looking her directly in the face, and saying, “Miss Carol, you’re beautiful.”
He was serious and sincere. At that moment, he made me see the beauty of my mama. The little guy helped me begin to focus on inner beauty.
It was sort of like a Nanny McPhee syndrome. At the beginning of the Nanny McPhee movie, the kids abhor the new nanny. She appears ugly with wrinkles and a big, hairy mole. During the movie, her face changes to this wonderful glowing countenance. I was ashamed I hadn’t seen my mother’s beauty sooner.
Dealing with aging by focusing on inner beauty changes our perspective of ourselves and others. We can pray specifically for our focus to shift.
- Dealing with Aging by being Confident in Our Identity
When we have doubts about aging, we should remember stories like these. We should be confident in who we are. The Lord made us, and we shouldn’t let shallow thoughts deter us from that truth and confidence in our identity.
Isaiah 46: 4 states,
“I will still be carrying you when you are old, your hair will turn gray, and I will still carry you. I made you.”
- Dealing with Aging by Realizing our Appearance is not the Most Important Part of us
There are other life events that have helped me deal with aging and my appearance. I have developed a rare condition called “Olfactory hallucinations” which makes me smell things that aren’t there.
The doctors have done numerous tests, and they cannot find anything wrong. By trial and error, I discovered that taking an antihistamine helps, therefore the doctor thinks I may be allergic to things that trigger the condition.
Lotions and creams on my face trigger the condition. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it means I had to give up wearing make-up.
It was pretty difficult at first because no one was used to seeing me without makeup. I wasn’t used to seeing myself like that either; just my everyday, ordinary face.
I even had a couple of people ask me if I was feeling okay, but was determined to persevere and not to let it get me down.
Not long after that, one of my coworkers was in my office. I was chatting with him about a project and also answering the phone.
As I jotted some notes down and conversed with one of the callers, I noticed my coworker was smiling. I asked him, “What are you smiling at?” He said, “Just you. You have such joy answering the phone.” His compliment meant a lot because it gave me my dignity. He saw my efforts which helped me see my appearance was not the most important part of me.
Author, Roald Dahl sums up the advice,
“If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of you like sunbeams, and you will always look lovely”.
- Dealing with Aging by Encouraging Each Other
Sometimes, it helps to encourage one another during the doubtful times we experience learning how to deal with aging. I have a divorced friend who is 60, and she takes good care of herself. She makes this bone broth concoction that is very involved. She reads books that promote her health.
One day, she stopped for a visit. She had this little step stool with her that she was excited to show me. The stool was designed so she could turn upside down and do a handstand on it. Then, pull her legs up and down, as an exercise.
I was blown away that she could do this. It was great that her efforts were being rewarded. However, as we conversed, she spoke her doubts about dating to me. She was worried about her wrinkles, and that she didn’t have a perfect body. I couldn’t believe she had these doubts.
I encouraged her, if someone is your good friend, they don’t see your flaws. They see your worth. I was like, “You just stood on your head??! How are you not taking anything positive away from that?!”
Dealing with aging by encouraging each other is extremely beneficial to help us feel validated and special.
- Dealing with Aging by Having a Purpose
Benjamin Franklin has been credited with saying,
“Those who love deeply, never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young.”
I love that because it summarizes our purpose for being here.
Old Age is a Blessing
When we embrace that old age is a blessing, we can live out the phrase, “growing old with grace”.
I think growing old with grace has a lot to do with how we treat others, and how we treat ourselves.
We might not believe that old age is a blessing and struggle understanding how to grow old with grace, but we all know people who come to mind when we think of “grace”.
I used to work with a man who made me think of the word, “grace”. Everyone loved this guy, he was our campus policeman at the high school where I taught. When I saw him in the courtyard, he always had a group of people surrounding him.
He always told jokes. He even came into my class one day and made up a rap song about one of the students. We also had a school newspaper that quoted him, and it really explained his attitude.
“People aren’t going to care about whether or not you wore good clothes, they are going to care
about how you made them feel.”
For me, that sums up “Growing old with Grace”. We should just change it to, “Growing with Grace”! We are here to lift one another up, not tear one another down. We are here to believe in ourselves too!
We can learn to understand old age is a blessing as we work on growing old with grace; both insights help us know how to deal with aging from a Godly perspective instead of a worldly perspective.
What Does the Bible say About Aging?
The Bible says a lot about aging weaved within stories and promises. When we meditate on Bible verses and pray it helps us learn how to deal with aging from a Godly perspective. Here are a few verses that answer the question, what does the Bible say about aging?
1 Timothy 5:1-2 NIV
“Do not rebuke older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers.”
Job 12:12 NLT
Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to the old.
Psalm 92:12-4 TLB
But the godly shall flourish like palm trees and grow tall as the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted into the Lord’s own garden and are under his personal care. Even in old age they will still produce fruit and be vital and green.
Proverbs 3:1-2 MSG
Good friend, don’t forget all I’ve taught you; take to heart my commands. They’ll help you live a long, long time, a long life lived full and well.
These points summarize what does the Bible say about aging;
- Be Confident because He made you.
- Keep your Dignity, and don’t let the shallow make you feel less than what He made you.
- Know that you’re here for a Higher Purpose than how you look.
- Show Grace by loving others and loving yourself.
Courtesy of Mary Armand