I have changed a lot since I was young. And I’m not even talking about the physical changes, though there have certainly been a lot of those.
No, I’m talking about attitude. So many things I use to consider of great importance carry little weight with me these days.
For example, every little subtle symptom I had when I was young could quickly morph (in my imagination) into some hideous disease. Now that I’m older, and therefore more likely to encounter said disease(s), I don’t spend much time thinking like that.
I use to worry whether my house was dusted, my life in order and my ducks all lined up in a row. It use to actually make me nervous when things felt a little “out of control.”
I guess part of the reason for the change in me is that I’ve come to realize that most of the things I’ve spent my life worrying about are not only beyond my control, they really aren’t worth worrying so much about.
I’m nearly 50 – but I truly mean it when I say I would not want to be young again, even if that were possible. I would not trade life experience (wisdom?) for youth. Never.
I see programs touting products and procedures that promise the veritable “fountain of youth” if you’ll take this pill or undergo that procedure. Maybe there’s something wrong with me, but that stuff just doesn’t interest me.
And another thing, I don’t want to live to be 100.
While I am by no means in a headlong rush to death, I don’t constantly think or worry about how long I’ll live – hoping that it’ll be as long as possible. If you live that long, even if you’ve been blessed with optimum health, you’ve still suffered a lot of loss – your friends, your family, maybe even your own children have gone before you. I’ve already seen a lot of loved ones pass on and 50 more years of that is not a goal of mine.
Am I the only one who feels this way? I guess you could say I value quality over quantity.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m trying to eat better, shed some pounds, take my meds and vitamins and otherwise care for myself – because after all life is a gift and should be cherished. I’m in no hurry to leave this world.
But I’ve come to feel that this gift, while cherished, must be held in an open hand. A clock somewhere is ticking, and sooner or later the timer will go off. When it does, my life will be over. What can I do to change that? Not a thing.
All I can do is take care of the vessel that I dwell in and have faith that my life (and the span of it) is in greater hands than my own.
That said, I wonder why we all don’t spend at least as much time worrying about what goes on in our spirit, or soul, as we do about how long we’ll live here on this earth.
Most of us worry about our homes, our vehicles, our insurance, our savings account, our investments, etc. etc. etc. - things that we will cease to have any value to us at the moment of our deaths.
Why, instead, don’t we worry about the things we say, how we treat those around us (including our own families) and make a conscious effort to feel grateful for all that we have, instead of focusing on all that we do not have?
Those are the things that will transcend our time on this earth. Our possessions will be divided, sold off and in some cases fought over, while the memory of the kind of person we were will be remembered long after we are gone.
Just a thought from a person who’s cruising swiftly toward that half-century mark.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for The Madison County Journal.