It's 2020. This is the year I will turn 70, unless Jesus comes back or I face an unexpected death and go on to heaven before May 17. When I turned 30, 40, and 50, I suppose I was too busy to notice, and when I turned 60, I also retired from teaching and moved into a new house in a new town, so that one didn't hurt too badly either. Somehow, though, 70 is weighing on me.
Don't get me wrong. I'm still healthy and active, and besides keeping up with our large family, I have this 4th career that I thoroughly enjoy. Travel writing and blogging (with the traveling that goes with it, of course) keeps my mind sharp because I'm constantly learning, seeing, doing and tasting new things. But, it's the acknowledgement of my "generational position" that has me reeling just a bit.
When I was a kid, I thought I'd NEVER get to be a teenager. Then I turned 13, and everything started to proceed in fast-forward motion. The year I turned 20, I got married! Wow! Then it seemed that I was in the child-rearing phase of life for a long time. Looking back, that, too, passed in a blur. Our last child to marry just celebrated his 20th wedding anniversary, for heaven's sakes, meaning Steve and I have now been empty nesters for 20 years. How can that be?
But, I guess it was a visit to the cemetery that really brought it home to me. That, along with attending the memorial service of one of Steve's high school classmates. If the natural life cycle happens, we're the next to go.
I wrote recently about memories I have of the great cooks in my family -- my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother -- and in the kitchen of my mother-in-law. The story was for Desoto Magazine and focused on black skillets, a.k.a. using cast iron. What amazing women they all were and what culinary magic they created for all of my family to enjoy.
But, what strikes me is that now I AM THAT GRANDMOTHER and within 5-10 years, I'll likely be the GREAT-GRANDMOTHER. . . . unless Jesus comes back or I go on to heaven. It also seems to me that I know more than I've even known and I have more life experience (almost 70 years' worth) that I would be happy to share, but there aren't many who care to hear it. But, truthfully, did I seek the wisdom of my parents and grandparents as much as I wish I had? Now that they're gone, don't I often wish for just one more conversation, one more bit of instruction, one more hug?
As I wrestle with my new reality, I've been looking in God's Word for examples and encouragement. Barzillai was a helper and an encouragement to King David when he was 80 years old. Noah was 600 years old when the flood came, meaning he was in his late 500's when he was building the ark. Abraham was over 100 when God asked him to sacrifice Isaac. Anna was 84 when she saw the baby Jesus while she was worshipping in the temple, something she spent her days doing. Naomi was a positive mentor to her daughter-in-law Ruth even when she considered herself to be old.
My conclusion? I'm still here, which means I'm still "on assignment."
Psalm 71:18 -- "So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come."
Job 12:12 -- "Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days."
Job 32:7 -- "I said, ‘Let days speak, and many years teach wisdom."
Psalm 37:25 -- "I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread."
Isaiah 46:4 -- "Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save."
P.S. I just realized that I wrote something very similar when Steve was the one turning 70. Maybe you remember it. https://www.conniewasthere.com/2017/12/29/when-you-suddenly-find-that-you-are-that-generation/