I was standing in front of the student center at Modesto Junior College with some friends, and I happened to look down at my feet. I was wearing those Dr Scholls shoes with the wooden soles and the leather uppers (remember them?) I wore them all the time. In fact, I had three pairs in different colors. And on this particular day I was mortified to realize that I was wearing one blue shoe and one brown.
I mumbled an inarticulate something to my friends and practically ran to the parking lot to go home and change my shoes. I knew I was giving up my premium parking place, and that I would be late for my next class, but I couldn’t imagine going through the rest of the day wearing odd shoes.
That was 30 years ago. Back then, at age 31, I considered myself to be fairly self-assured. I had come a long way from the awkward high school girl who lived in books and ate lunch alone. But I was still insecure enough to go into a desperate tizzy because I was wearing odd shoes.
My friend, Emily had a similar shoe experience just recently. She was in line at the grocery store and a little girl in the shopping cart ahead of her kept looking at her feet. She would look down at Emily’s feet and then look up at her face, and then back down at her feet. Finally Emily looked down and realized that she was wearing odd shoes. She grinned at the little girl and made some silly comment and they both had a laugh.
I would do the same thing today. What a difference three decades make! As Benjamin Franklin says, “I am in the prime of senility.”
I kept seeing a little ad on the edge of my Facebook page that says something like “60 is the new 30”. Finally I bit. I checked it out, and was dismayed to find a story about a beauty contest for glamorous grandmas.
I’m here to tell you 60 is not the new 30.
In my teens and through my twenties I always thought I was fat, and certainly not much to look at. Now I look at old pictures of myself and think I was actually pretty hot.
In those days I always felt like I talked too much, or talked too little, or put my foot in my mouth.
Why did I do so much lamenting and self-criticizing? Why didn’t I relax more?
Can you relate?
Even my sassy outspoken friend Peggy, who passed away at 92 told me she didn’t know who she was, or what she thought about anything, until she was about 40. I believe it.
What a shame to spend our youth in fretting insecurity, trying to be something we’re not, and being afraid to be who we really are.
And then to spend our older years trying to get the youth back.
My mother-in-law always says “Enjoy the moment!” And from everything I know of this wonderful woman, she has “enjoyed the moment” her entire life, and she has brought joy to others in the process.
I want to be like that.
Proverbs 16:31 says, “The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, If it is found in the way of righteousness.”
So here I am looking at another birthday. Now I’m going to be 3 score and more. I’m finally getting comfortable with who I am – who the Lord made me to be. I can finally relax and not beat myself up when I mess up – which I do all the time! I can laugh at “bad hair days” or “odd shoe days” and I’m not afraid to strike up a conversation with a stranger. I’m even learning to laugh when I can’t think of a certain word… or what I came into the room for.
I think the secret lies in 2 Corinthians 4:16 – So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
I believe that. And while my inner self is being renewed by the Lord, I’ll do what I can do to help that outer self stay healthy.
Psalm 103 promises that the Lord will satisfy me with good things so that my youth is renewed like the eagles’.”
I don’t know exactly how or when he plans to do the youth-renewing, but he always satisfies me with good things. And the birthday blessings for this year have already begun to pour in! – a free car wash coupon, and $10.00 gift cards from Office Max and Victoria’s Secret! Plus I get senior discounts for the rest of my life! And I’m pretty sure there will be tiramisu in my near future. Woo Hoo!