In a week from now I will turn 50 years old. Even as I am writing this, I paused for a few minutes to ponder that. I am turning 50. Now I know most of you don’t trip over these age milestones, and previously I could claim the same thing. When I turned 21 it was a thrill ride! I’m not sure I even noticed passing the 30-year mark – I had too much other stuff to do. When I turned 40, my family says that I was very moody, but it was really other things going on at the time that had me feeling some kinda way. But as I approach 50, I’m feeling sort of melancholy and anxious. Honestly, as I much as I’d like to soothe myself with the common affirmations (“age is only a number” or “you’re only as old as you feel”) that doesn’t really work with me. I’m also tempted to just appropriate the typical prophetic sayings (“God isn’t thru with you” or “your latter days shall be GREATER…”) but that’s not my thing either. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in these 49.9 years, it’s that in order for me to move forward, I have to wrestle with my thoughts and get them under subjection.
Now before you start doing a religious-psychoanalytical examination on me, allow me to be transparent. I am not dissatisfied with my present life. I have no deep emotional scars from my childhood to uncover (I wasn’t abused or deprived or anything like that). But there are things that I would like to do with my life that I am simply not sure I will have enough time to do. These things require learning, because they are quite different than what I have built my life on thus far. Frankly, I’m not even sure that I have what it takes to do these things well. My sense of anxiety grows when I consider that the way I’ve treated my body in the past may negatively affect the amount of time and strength I have left. Losing my father recently has only magnified these thoughts, and this adds to my anxiety. He was 72 years old when he passed.
I also need the help of others in order to accomplish what I want to do with the rest of my life. However, not only do I have to break the well-worn habit of being too independent, I don’t even have a clue as to who could help me. And then finding people that are willing to give me the time and attention necessary to help me is a challenge. After all, everyone has their own battles to wage and hills to climb. So there it is. In my dreams, turning 50 is a launching pad to fulfillment on a deeper level. In my mind, I am like Moses standing on a hill looking at a promised land that I will never experience.
I understand that this is an internal fight. But, another important thing I’ve learned in the last 10 years is that I don’t have to fight fair. I can let someone else jump in and slug it out with my darker side. The great Apostle Paul is in my corner, urging me with these words, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplications with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) So here’s the game plan: I will pray and ask God to guide and empower me as I walk into whatever the future holds. I will communicate my desires to Him and ask that He help me to attain them. I will thank God for all that he has given me, including and especially these last 49.9 years. And even though I can’t change what I have or haven’t done in the past, God will give me peace. But this peace is not just to make me feel better; it is God’s signal to me that He will not allow my darker side to overwhelm my heart and mind. His peace will guard me from future negative thoughts.
WOW! I feel better already!
3 thoughts on “OVERCOMING THE ANXIETY OF GETTING OLD”
This is some wise words Ell.
Is it not great, having a relationship with God.
Wow, Great words. Thank you for your transparency it’s helping us in our present struggles.