Forever Middle Aged
No, really. What is this concept of a person growing “older”?
Most educated people know that time, the thing we measure with clocks and calendars, is not a “real” substance. It is a measurement we humans find useful when trying to get things done Time is really just something which maintains us, organizes us, greets us, haunts us and controls us.
“Control us.” Ahhhh, now there’s an interesting concept, to say the least. How can anything which is but an explanation of something which does not have physical substance and is described by mankind as if it were a supra-dimension, control sentient beings like ourselves proven to be the highest form of physical life on this planet? But that is exactly what this concept we call time does with mankind.
We awaken in the mornings, usually according to when we tell our clocks (our miniature robots) to awaken us. We routinely take showers, fix faces, dress and prepare ourselves for the day to come. After eating whatever we call our morning meal, we rush off to face our daily duties. This must be done at this time, that must be done at that time. A meeting at 10am, lunch at noon, another meeting at 2:00pm. The days roll on quite normally usually with many people being adept at entering things needed to be done for either business or personal purposes in their personal calendars, rather that be a pocket notebook or on a computer.
It all works quite well, unless there comes an unexpected event which causes an interruption in the flow of what has been scheduled on one’s calendar. Then suddenly, without warning, time is interrupted and a person feels distress when thinking of what they shall do with all this stuff on their calendar. Most people seem to get through it well enough by sliding things scheduled into new spots. But some, however, panic and become disorganized and confused to the point of sometimes all we can think to do is to run home, slam the door behind us (locking it) and going to bed to hide.
Soon, however, the reality of time catches up with us and we realize that we cannot hide from our responsibilities because the clock keeps ticking. And, well, we keep getting hungry and the bill collectors keep calling.
While time is not able to be touched, seen nor in any other physiological way “observed,” it is quite real. Like distance takes one from one point to another. Time influences physical objects by its existence and its passage. A house can set empty, with no one living in it, for 20 years with no one caring for it> By the end of that 20 years that house will be in very poor condition. However if that same house is lived in, cared for and properly respected it will appear better and possibly larger than it was when first built. Either way time has shown an effect upon the building. Simple evidence that time is real.
All things are effected by time in this way. Even people – us. It’s inevitable. Its most likely part of the reason why we humans decided time is important enough to need to develop a way to measure it.
One of the fun aspects of counting time for the human lifespan is a period of time, at least here in the U.S. called “middle age.” That period of time from about 45 to 65 years of age which marks a transition from younger adulthood and “old age.” It’s a time when we hear the jokes about middle-aged men who buy themselves fancy sport cars, create elaborate lifestyles and oft-times getting remarried to “dreams.” And middle-aged women often find their way, finally, into the workplace, and doing things they had only dreamed of while a youth and while raising their families. But the fun cliché’s are not as innocent as we might want to believe.
At this age we become painfully aware of our inability to be immortal. We begin to realize that we don’t have the same physical abilities of when we were youths. Many of us do not have the ability to be accepting of these proofs of the reality of time and its effects upon us, so we try to fight it –to hide it, at least from ourselves But wigs, mascara and beautiful cloths are usually just not enough.
It takes more than physical images to fight the march of time. It takes real thinking. It takes real faith.
I am to be 70 years of age toward the end of this year. Over what the Oxford Dictionary says is considered “middle-age.” But before my middle-aged years began I started joking that I would be perpetually “middle aged.” I mean, why not? These have been some of the best years of my life.
“Oh, so you’re now an old man,” you declare. Am I? Statistics show that on a worldwide basis the number of octogenarians and those older have increased on a worldwide basis tremendously over the past century. It is now predicted that the number of people reaching and going beyond age 100 will be commonplace within the next 30 years. The researchers like to claim that it’s our modern lifestyle and medical research which has made this longevity possible, but if we truly believe the ancient scriptures then we know there were people who lived much older than we of modern day. That is recorded in the scriptures (See book of Genesis: Holy Bible). No there are other factors involved here than knowledge.
Now I’ve not been a worldly success in my life. I’m not a superstar. I don’t have a million dollars plus in the bank. I’m not recognized as a leader in any certain field and I currently am struggling with physical limitations which cause nightmares for most people to think of. But I am reminded of the many people I have cared for in my personal care duties as a “professional” care giver in the medical/social field who had medical problems much more severe than do I who were much younger then than I am now. Age has nothing to do with medical challenges. They just occur. But, because of my loving wife, and faith in a universal, creative God, I AM happy, fairly active and still somewhat independent of a great need for much care..
The difference is that when I was younger, I was trying to build a lifestyle which was given to me by parents, teachers and other counselors as being the type of lifestyle they thought I should have. I did not realize, until I was much older and had tried to live that lifestyle, that it was not my ideal lifestyle. Now the life which Genie and I live could be improved. That should not be denied. But we live in circumstances caused by my near blindness and deafness which we otherwise would not have experienced simply because we would not have felt the necessity nor wanted to take the risk to make the extreme life-style changes we made when faced with these challenges.
Since experiencing these limitations, along with a joint problem with my hip, we have moved into our own mobile home in a senior community on a large lake. Would that be inviting to anyone? This was done both because we wanted outside of large city life and to protect some cash we had inherited. It also helped us manage our money while learning to cope with my limitations. We have started this Web outreach set of blogs and Web site to try to help others be inspired to trust God and to use their creative abilities. This is something we both wanted to do most of our lives as we had both felt a call to Christian ministry when we were in our 20’s. . It’s been only through the passage of time, and the changes which came with it, that we have found the way to do this.
Most certainly, this all happened toward the end of my time in what the world considered to be my “Middle Age” years. But if you’ve known me very long, or if you’ve read much of my writing, you know I do not necessarily think as the world thinks about these things.
I decided, many years ago, that in my own mind I would forever be “middle aged.”
Say what? How can one do that. By stepping into the spiritual understanding of the Holy Bible scriptures and reading the words factually a person can then step outside of time even as is our Creator.
According to Christian thought Jesus, the Christ, atoned us from our sins when he was approximately 32-35 years of age. At that time, in the Hebrew culture of the age, that age of Jesus’ death would have been considered middle aged.
Spiritually, since Christians claim that Christ died in our stead, then our worldly lives ended at middle age with Jesus on the cross at that time. Simple as that.
Okay, so the theology of this idea may be lacking. But it’s fun. And it helps me cope with “aging.” And remember, Jesus did strongly promote the idea that if we but believe in him we could have “eternal life.” What better way to experience eternal life, or to explain it, than to state simply that I will be perpetually middle-aged. Every birthdate I have can add as many birthdays to expect in the future as I’ve had in the past. So, on my 70th birthday in November, if I’m truly in middle age, I can expect 70 more in the future.
Yes, I say this is a fun thing that I do. But deep down in my heart I really believe it’s possible if we simply have faith.