June 2, 2008

Quarter of a Century

I'll be turning 25 in a couple of days....wow. It seems impossible that I have been on this earth for 25 years. I don't want to become a person who dreads her birthdays simply because it means I am one year older and therefore losing my "youth." I absolutely loved my childhood and growing up, and sometimes I wish I could go back to those days, but I think there is something really beautiful about each year of one's life.

I'm saddened by the way society has come to view the aging process and the older generations in general. In the past several years, women have become obsessed with turning back the hands of the clock, when it comes to their outward appearances, at least. Go into any drugstore and you'll find a dizzying array of serums, creams, and lotions that promise to make your skin look younger in weeks. Then there's the plastic surgery and injections...don't get me started on all that. I often find myself wondering, why has society come to view aging as BAD? Why are wrinkles "ugly?" Just because a woman doesn't look at 55 the way she did when she was 25, does that make her any less beautiful? Society seems to be replying, "yes."

Even more so than appearances, what really makes me sad is the way our society treats the elderly. In my opinion, we, being society in general, treat them like crap. Just because they "can't keep up" so to speak with all of our Mac's, flatscreen TV's, cell phones, iPods, and the like. Yes, they do drive slower and I'm not going to lie, I get really annoyed with elderly drives sometimes as I know many others do. But we brush aside these generations and treat them as if they are burdensome. We basically treat them as if they have nothing to offer our world anymore because they are past what we consider to be their "prime."

One thing I have learned in my travels is that the European mindset about the elderly is different than ours in the US. I learned that the more elderly a person was, the more respect I was to show them. They are seen as wise and learned in the ways of life. I really came to appreciate the respect that was shown for the elderly. I must say, I agree with that mindset. I, too, believe that the elderly have so much to offer. It may take time and patience to sit down and talk with an elderly person, and often times, I think the very elderly really need people to talk to. There is a wisdom that comes with the years and it is a wisdom that cannot be learned in books or elsewhere, but only by living life. And I think that's why the phrase "parents know best" is so true. They hold that precious life experience.

So even though I feel kind-of old as my 25th birthday approaches, I don't dread it. This past year has brought me SO MUCH: marrying my wonderful husband, moving to Lansing, a new job, travels to new places (both domestic and abroad)...just to name a few. Each new year of my life has brought so much; much more than I ever would have expected. And that makes me really excited for my up-coming year of life. It's a gift from God and my prayer is that I waste not a moment of it. Thank you, Jesus, for letting me live these 25 years!!!

My feeling can be summed up in this quote which is a favorite of mine:
"The sunset is no less beautiful than the sunrise."

I think the aging process is beautiful. Each year of life teaches us so much. The years do become evident on a person's body, but I think gray hair and wrinkles should be viewed more like a badge of honor. God created life just as He intended it and that includes the aging of our bodies. It is such a gift for God to give a person many years of life to live. My hope is that I can thank God for the time He has granted me by relishing each moment of each day.

A final note...today (June 2nd) is my sister's birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ERIN! She is the most wonderful, amazing sister in the world and she truly deserves her best birthday ever. LOVE YOU, SIS!

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