As I left the gym Saturday, the teen sitting behind the reception desk stifled a yawn while wishing me a good day.
“Sorry for yawning,” she said. “I graduated last night and didn’t get much sleep.”
After getting in the car, I thought about what it means to be a senior and how seniority has a positive, milestone-type connotation in some settings, yet a not so positive slant regarding age.
Seniors in high school or college are the top dogs. They have reached the highest level of learning for that particular phase. Seniority in a profession is attained by years of continuous service and carries with it esteem and privileges younger colleagues do not enjoy. But when senior is in regard to aging, it is sometimes viewed negatively. Yet, there are numerous benefits to being senior.
The Wisdom of Experience
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could have the accumulated wisdom of sixty plus years when you are 20? But life doesn’t work that way. Wisdom comes from the lessons of experience, but only if we learn and benefit from those lessons, keeping them close at hand for future reference. Refer to those lessons often, and if the opportunity arises, share wisdom with those who are younger, searching, and receptive.
Weathered Seasons of Hardship
All of us have lived through difficult seasons, and with those seasons we experience change. Often the changes a difficult season brings are the hardest part. For some, change comes with the unexpected or too soon loss of a loved one, and with that loss, your expectations for the future change and grief becomes your companion. For others, a difficult season results from a job loss, illness, depression, addiction, or on-going conflict. With years, you can look back at those seasons, when you were at your lowest, and see how God faithfully guided, encouraged, sustained, and carried you through. While hard seasons are challenging, we gain strength and grow as a result.
An Inventory of Blessings
Have you taken time recently to enumerate your blessings? My family is at the top of the list, followed by many blessings great and small. Create a list. Think beyond the obvious. Sometimes, our greatest blessings are an absence of something—pain, anxiety, or a difficult season. The longer you’ve lived the greater your blessings’ list.
The Ability to Recognize and Appreciate the Joys of Today
I can remember times in my life when I was constantly looking ahead to the next acquisition or event, feeling that when I reached that point, things would be better, or happier, or provide more fulfillment. But over the years, I’ve learned to enjoy and be thankful for what is happening (or not happening) right now. Condition yourself to recognize and appreciate the joys of today by making time for quiet reflection and prayer. Also, spend time in nature and savor the sights, sounds, and sensations.
Freedom to Be Who You Are
In life, we encounter many man-made or self-perceived hoops through which we feel compelled to jump. With age comes the realization that every hoop isn’t worth the jump. God created each of us with unique gifts and talents that render us well-suited for some pursuits, but not for others. Realizing this simplifies your life and promotes peace and forward motion.
Is seniority regarding aging a negative? Absolutely not, especially when it includes wisdom, blessings, joy, peace, and grandchildren!
“Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in the length of days.” Job 12:12 ESV