A little over a year ago in a women’s small group, there was a moment where the pessimism and insecurity of some of our groups members drove me to tears. As women of all ages, we met together periodically, and on this special occasion, several women who were somewhere in the ballpark of 50-60 years old absolutely would not stop belittling themselves and their bodies. When I tried to change the tone of that conversation based on the respect I hold for women of all ages, they absolutely ripped me apart, insinuating that bitterness and regret related to one’s physical appearance was some natural thing, and that I’d be the same way once I became their age. I went to the bathroom and wept.
At no point in my life will I allow that kind of ugliness to cloud my judgment. Despite what some regret-filled older people often insinuate, young people do not have perfect bodies, and it is hard to be young also. So many of my peers (and in many things, I myself) have not worked through a lot of the battles that will give us the wisdom we will have, God willing we reach that age. We haven’t had kids, we haven’t had to let them go, we haven’t done quite a few many things that are ridiculous and just not here yet. We shouldn’t be pressured to idealize the present for fear of the future. When the time is ready, the good Lord will take us through the ringer and we’ll get our turn.
But I refuse to believe that I have to enjoy the coming seasons of my life less than I do the present, or even the better parts of the past. Life presents us new challenges continually, and I have a very present help in the form of Christ. He and I will keep moving through the obstacle course, and then I’ll die, and I’ll be with Jesus. Why in God’s name are we trying to hold onto the earth? There are beautiful times and hard times throughout every season, and how would you age into the nuance of a different form of beauty if you didn’t dare to keep going and keep that joy of being alive? Being young isn’t that great. Fun fact: at no point are people’s bodies, minds, or hearts perfectly structurally secure, from birth to finish, as evidenced by the fact that we all die, we all make mistakes, and we all remain oblivious.
As long as I am physically able to move around, as long as I am still lucid, as long as I still have Jesus, I am going to enjoy it for what it’s worth and choose to keep living. At no point will I age into bitterness. At this point, I’ve left the bitterness behind me.