Published by the Rains County Leader on May 16, 2017:
I entered a new decade of my life on Easter Sunday this year, but the celebration of the Resurrection took precedence over my birthday. Still, it’s hard to ignore all the signs of the advance of time, especially when events conspire to remind you. There were several events like that this past week.
First, our next-door neighbor asked David if we would be interested in selling him the back part of our property, the part that borders the creek.
“I don’t think so,” said David. “But I’ll run it by Linda.”
“Okay,” said the neighbor. “But if you decide to sell, I’d like the first chance at buying it.”
“Well, our plans are to be here until we die, but I’ll be sure our heirs know.”
Later, when he told me about it, we laughed – but I had a strange feeling that the buzzards were circling the house.
The other three events happened at our church women’s retreat Friday night. About two dozen of us gathered at the Matthew’s Retreat Center in Lone Oak for a time of relaxation, fun, and girl talk. Of course, there was food, too. We didn’t have a full-blown church potluck because the instructions had called for finger foods, but there were enough fresh fruits and veggies as well as lots of less healthy snacks to fill a plate and require a refill or two.
When it came time to eat, everyone was too polite to go first. Someone suggested that the youngest should start the line, but when she demurred, attention shifted to the oldest. I probably don’t have to tell you who held that honor. Let’s just say that I didn’t have to worry about whether any of the platters would be empty before I reached them.
After dinner, we moved outside to a fire pit where some of our ladies had been playing with matches and lighter fluid and had built a nice blaze. Even the lifetime country girls in the group didn’t want to sit on the damp grass with the chiggers, so everyone grabbed a chair as we headed for the door. One of the ladies had set up several camp chairs on the patio, and before I picked up my seat, I heard her voice floating back on the evening breeze.
“Linda, you can use one of these lighter chairs!”
I considered the choices – a sturdy padded metal dining chair or a comfortable folding canvas chair. Deciding that being older might have its advantages after all, I swallowed my slightly damaged pride and chose the second option.
The final reminder of my advancing age came during the fireside devotional. Our speaker read a Psalm that reminded us that it was our duty to teach the generations to come about God. Then, she began to address her audience in groups. Once again, we began with the oldest.
“Do you see these women in their 60s and 70s? They have been working faithfully for years, and they’re tired!”
She moved on down through the younger age brackets, encouraging the younger women to learn from and follow the example of the older women, to step into their positions, allowing them to sit down and take on more of an advisory role. As I listened, her words struck a chord. I thought about the days when I have come home from work wanting nothing more than to spend the evening in my comfortable chair reading a good book instead of back at the church surrounded by fifty to sixty energetic children.
So, here I am, a month past my birthday, reflecting on what it means to be older. Many years ago, I decided that aging is less a matter of numbers and more a matter of attitude. Aside from the gathering buzzards, there seem to be a lot of advantages if a person chooses the right perspective, so I intend to age as gracefully as possible and to fully enjoy my Golden Years.