Have you ever noticed that as you get older, while you may age on the outside, on the inside you still feel as young as you once were?
Earlier this month I turned 39 years old. It’s the last year of my 30’s. It’s been a great decade, especially compared to much of my 20’s.
My 20’s had some good years. I went to college, learned a lot and graduate, and formed some great friendships along the way. But my 20’s were filled with some painful years.
Some years just outright stunk. I was engaged for several years, and then suddenly I was not. I worked at a very demanding job that didn’t pay very well and which began to take a physical toll on me. I made some bad financial decisions and got deeply in debt. I tried working a second job in order to pay off those debts, but ended up going bankrupt anyway.
About this time, a slightly older friend of mine who saw me down on my luck, encouraged me one day. She told me that my 30’s would be better than my 20’s, and likely be some of the best years of my life. And, she ended up being largely right.
My 30’s were great. Much of what I was working towards in my 20’s finally materialized. I eventually got a decent paying job, and quickly climbed the corporate ladder a rung or two. I got married, and bought a house. I got plugged into a great church. And a lot of good things have since come my way.
Don’t get me wrong… not everything was sunshine and lollipops the past decade. I faced some serious challenges. But what made my 30’s so great is that I faced the world with something I didn’t have in my 20’s… and that is the perspective and wisdom that comes only with time and experience.
The school of hard knocks will definitely teach you a thing or two about life. I got beat a time or two with what I call “the stupid stick,” and learned about how to better function in this world.
Yet still, on the inside, I still feel like the same kid who used to laugh at Beavis and Butthead on MTV. And I marvel that I have a job at a mortgage company where I make millions of dollars worth of decisions every single day. For on the inside, in spite of my exceedingly great levels of wisdom, I still feel like something of a kid.
Of course, I don’t always feel like that on the outside. Things creek and crack that didn’t when I was younger. I usually go to bed before 10 pm on most nights. And if I don’t sleep right, I’ll wake up feeling like someone tossed me off a 12 story building.
But on the inside? I still feel as young as I did when I was 20 years old. Only on rare occasions do I have “Get off my lawn!” moments. But those are very rare. And as it turns out, I’m not the only person who feels this way. Talking to some older friends and family, I’ve learned this phenomenon with aging is a common thing.
Talking with my parents who are in their mid to late 60’s, they tell me that they still feel young on the inside. And my wife’s 93 year old grandmother, as she looks around the nursing home where she lives, she finds herself asking, “Why do I live with all these old people?” Nevermind the fact that my wife’s grandmother is one of the oldest people, if not the oldest, at the nursing home she lives at.
So why does this happen? Why do we, as we continue to age, still fill young on the inside? Perhaps there is a psychological and scientific reason for all this. I am not personally aware of anything on this topic.
But I can’t help but wonder, maybe the reflections of C. S. Lewis are true. Maybe God has put a “God sized question mark” in our hearts after all. Maybe God has given us a taste of eternity and immortality on the inside, where it feels like we’ll live forever, so that we ultimately might seek after the things that are eternal.
For at the end of the day, none of us get out of this world alive. And as hard as it might be to wrestle with the unpleasant topic of our own mortality, as we get older, it’s not something I believe we can afford to ignore. Deep down inside we know this, but we ignore it because inside we feel as young as we ever did.
So instead of just thinking about the present moment, or having a 5 year plan… maybe we need to start formulating our 10,000 year plan.
For I believe God has given us a taste of immortality and eternity in the present moment, so that we might ultimately learn to seek after Him, and to hope in the resurrection to come.