Today is my brother-in-law’s fortieth birthday. I was the first in my family of my generation to pass this sometimes terrifying milestone, and now — with an guilty sense of comfort in knowing I am no longer the only one standing at the top of the hill — I get to cheer on each of my siblings and their spouses as they, too, reach the big 4-0.
So today, I’m thinking about aging and what it means to do it with power, grace and dignity. At 40, we all need to make sure that every moment of our lives counts for something greater than ourselves. When we do that, we leave our best legacy for our children and loved ones… and in the process learn what it means to truly live! So, Mike, here is my “Recipe for Aging Well,” my birthday gift to you:
- At least once in your life, stand up tall for something you truly believe in, especially when you know that you will face immense opposition for choosing to stand against popular opinion. Refuse to be silenced by the majority whenever you see an injustice.
- Realize the power and strength in your own voice by speaking out for someone who can’t do so for himself.
- Change the world by choosing to love a child. Teach them what it means to be loved… regardless the cost. You will only find the meaning of life when you learn what it means to love sacrificially.
- Seek the wisdom of the aged, those whom society so often overlooks. The wisdom they can share can spare you of many wrong choices in life. Don’t let our culture’s passion for youth deceive you. Those who have lived many days have so much to give if only you will listen.
- Slow down! Life seems to pass by at a quicker pace than when you were younger. Don’t let anything rob you of the joys of living in the moment. Every day has a treasure meant to be enjoyed by you. Claim each and every one!
- Dream a new dream, one bolder and more extravagant than ever before! God often waits for the years to mature us before He calls us for His most prized tasks. So often, we fail to realize that the best is yet to come!
- Step out of the familiar and do something you have never done before. Adventure awaits all of us. Dare to take a few risks, trusting God to lead the way. When we learn to truly trust Him, our lives become extraordinary.
- Look around and count your blessings. Laugh a little every day. Yes, you learned to do this as a child, but we forget! Life gets in the way and then gratitude slips away. And with it goes our joy. Refuse to let that go!
- Never miss an opportunity to tell a loved one how much they mean to you, regardless of whether or not they “deserve” to be told. There is a comfort in knowing that our loved ones know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are loved and valued, and that nothing remains to be said. You may feel silly and vulnerable in doing so, but do it anyway. You will never regret doing it, and you’ll sleep well at night.
- Dare to put your hand in God’s and ask Him to take you anywhere He wants. There is so much more He wants to show you, but so often we don’t let go of the reins of our lives to become all that He intended us to be. Don’t miss out on the grand plan that awaits you!
Life is good. In the hard times, in the bad, each breath is a gift. And every day has a purpose of its own for us to find…if only we will look for it.