Do you belong to a church that has a time for prayer? The pastor may ask for you to share your joys and concerns. Concerns of Aging.. Do you have any? Sure. If you were to say that you do not I would perhaps be a bit suspicious. Or I would know you were fairly young. Of course, the younger we are the less concerns we have with growing old. I realize that is a sweeping generalization and certainly does not apply to all young people. Our personal situation certainly influences what we are concerned. with.
Have you considered the Joys of Aging?
There are several surveys and articles which list possible concerns that people face as they age. According to Forbes Magazine there are 8 main challenges:
- Engagement and Purpose
- Financial Wellness
- Mobility & Movement
- Daily Living and Lifestyle
- Care Giving
- Care Coordination
- Brain Health
- End of Life.
According to the National Council on Aging, the three top concerns of Older Adults with regard to aging are:
- Maintaining the Physical Health
- Memory Loss
- Maintaining Mental Health
Any number of publications have produced a list of concerns about aging. Sure, we can come up with out own list. And we do. A top priority of Winter Grace Senior Ministries is to support Older Adults and their families through those challenges.
But What About the Joy?
Sure, life is a challenge as we age, but isn’t it always, regardless of age? Our challenges change, but then again this change gives us joys as well. Yes, it is a particularly beautiful sunny day while I am writing this. Perhaps that is giving me an extra rosy outlook. Okay, I confess. I am an optimist.
Embrace the Joy!
I am just thinking back to my 40th birthday. It isn’t one that women generally embrace. But you know what? I did! I thought it was the most fabulous of birthdays. Full disclosure, we went to Disney World to celebrate! I had a blast being a kid that week, but I also finally felt like a grown up. I was happy with who I was and wasn’t looking to others to see if what I did was perfect. Finally, I began to feel comfortable in my own skin, regardless how much of it there was. That was what turning 40 brought me. Now, I am a few years past 50. That was pretty good too!
I realize 40 is far from being old. I know that. Thirteen years later is looks absolutely perfect! But the point is, as we get older, we can also grow into ourselves. We can be more of who God has called us to be, rather than what the world keeps telling us we need to be.
This realization comes with a lot of joy, if we let it. On May 31, 2019, just 9 days shy of my 53rd birthday I was commissioned as a Deacon in the United Methodist Church. It really does not matter that I won’t be ordained until I am nearly 56. I am good with that. I wasn’t the oldest either. At least I don’t think so. 🙂
As we age, we have more wisdom. Hopefully, we apply it. That’s just the start. While I am just starting another career, those of you who are retiring are just starting a new adventure. What will you do on that adventure?
You have God given gifts and talents. Now, perhaps there is the opportunity to use them in new and exciting ways. We have interests that we can explore in ways we could not before. We can develop new ones!
Purpose, Meaning, and Spirituality, and Joy
There’s a relatively new movement out there. It is called Conscious Aging. Have you heard of it? I hadn’t until I started researching joy in aging. Then I learned it is really something I had been trying to put a name to all along. It is about aging on purpose or aging with purpose. It is an affirmation that attitude is everything. My attitude comes from believing that Jesus is everything. That’s my foundation. A person’s foundation, attitude, belief system, and outlook on life deeply impact all areas of life, especially their success at aging whether it is carried out in remarkably good health or one has an early and/or dramatic physical decline.
Certainly, conscious aging may allow us to let go of some, even much, of the negativity of life events. We are all shaped by our experiences and our responses to them. Maybe the second half is the time to come to terms with those negatives and finally learn the lessons from them that we can. As a result we can move on. Perhaps it is a time to let go of the negative baggage we all carry to some degree.
What if the second half is a time of renewal and fresh purpose? Wouldn’t that be cause for some joy? I think so! What do you think? Are you ready for an amazing second half? Even if you feel like you are in the fourth quarter, I challenge you to explore your thoughts and feeling about renewed purpose, life’s ultimate meaning, and your foundation.
Yes, we have challenges as we age. Some of us seemingly have more challenges than our friends or neighbors. We are not dismissing the very real challenges that can come in the second half of life. But let’s look for the joy and opportunities that we can only experience when we look forward to what is ahead!
What are your joys and concerns of aging?
Please share your thoughts, questions, and ideas!
Are you looking for more ideas to examine your purpose and firm up your foundation please check out these other posts from Winter Grace Senior Ministries…