In this world we have to live with one another, young and old, rich or poor, black or white, male and female, even though we have different perspectives of each other and disagree with one another. Writing has helped me slow down and think outside the box and look at life from another’s perspective.
Here are two stories that gave me perspective about my age from someone else’s view.
I went to a local store recently to buy a fish supper. Here in Ireland it is our favourite, tried and tested take away. Pizza and kebab shops have opened and shut down again.
I was taken aback when the assistant said “Do you want the pensioner’s deal?” I forgot I had white hair and I certainly did not feel like a pensioner, even though I am one. I also thought a pensioner’s portion would be a few small pieces of cod and a few chips! The lady noticed my surprise and quickly reassured me that the portions are the same but it is cheaper. She was being kind.
This was the first time I realised that other people see my age, but I had never considered how I look to other people. I feel young inside and think I am young on the outside too.
A few days later, in another village I was looking at some outdoor plants for sale. I heard this voice hail me saying “Young lady, can I help you?” I looked around to see if there was someone else he was talking to. He was talking to me! I smiled and picked out a pot plant to buy. He was a good salesman.
When I look back I remember when I was ten years of age I thought my mum was very old. She was only forty at the time. That was not old. My eldest child is over forty now and I think of her as thirty something.
I was married at twenty. In my generation it was common to get married young. Nowadays young women and men find it difficult to meet a suitable partner and the average age for marriage is around thirty. I think it is harder to raise children today because of the pressure on the family unit.
I have a friend who is sixty five. She looks like fifty. I put it down to her mother and father living into their nineties. She always knew there was someone looking out for her.
When my husband and I attended parent teacher meetings for our younger children, we were the only grey haired parents there. The other parents were much younger. I hope my children were not embarressed letting their friends see us. From my perspective I was a parent and my age did not matter to me.
My children told their teachers when their first nephew was born. I attended an event at the school soon afterwards. I was congratulated for being a grandmother. I had never been celebrated as much for having my own children. There must be something special about getting to see one’s grandchildren. Thankfully I am alive and have survived cancer, to see twelve grandchildren so far.
The scripture in psalm 127 says “May you live to see your children’s children.” It is a blessing.
I realised my age when I did not have the strength to work in the garden for long. A few years before I was clearing ground, digging up my vegetable patch or mowing the lawn. I now plant up pots. I know my limits.
My husband and I have been considering moving from this big home for a couple of years. We now see it is too much work for us. We are delighted to be moving to a smaller home that suits our needs. God has guided us in this new move.
As one is older one has a perspective on life that is coloured by experience, mistakes, pain and how one copes with what life throws at you. Younger people have less experience and generally are influenced by their peers rather than experience gained over many years. Like the child who burnt his hand he knows not to touch the hot stove again. The Word of God says we learn obedience through the things we suffer.
Jesus said to Peter, who was a bit head strung, “When you are young you will go wherever you want but when you are old others will lead you.”
God made us and he realises our vulnerability and weakness as we get older. We may be concerned about a loved one or our health may fail. One is not in control. But if one trusts God he will give us courage and strength to keep going. Jesus said “Cast all your care upon me because I care for you.” He is our refuge in time of trouble.
The bible is full of promises about when one is old. Here are a few that give me hope in the goodness of God.
Psalm 91 says “With long life will I satisfy you”
“Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone.
Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.” (Psalm 71:9, 18 NIV)
Psalm 90 promises we can live till we are seventy. As one believes God’s word one can expect to live to seventy at least. Too often we listen to what doctors or others tell us instead of listening to what God says.
“Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble. Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. (Psalms 90:10, 12 NLT)
I believe being there for my children and grandchildren is important. It gives security, like my friend, that someone cares. Can a mother forget the child she bore? I am staying alive because I want to see the promises that God has given me about my family and destiny fulfilled.
I am blessed to have a loving, caring husband for companionship for the latter part of our lives. He often tells me the best is yet to be. I agree with him. The work of looking after my children is over. I will still pray for them. I am looking forward to my new home and new beginnings.
I can say that God is faithful. He has cared for me during my younger years and even to my gray hair. I can truly say God is good all the time.
From my perspective as I am older it is good to rest, value life and be thankful. Love covers and protects us all and helps us to live together even though we have different perspectives.