Dear Lucy: Recently I went to my 40th high school class reunion. Can you imagine that? We are all rapidly approaching 60 and all I heard or saw were wheelchairs, talk of high blood pressure, diabetes, strokes, bald heads, disappointments over children and jobs and it just made me sick. I am not physically ill, but I swear I looked at least ten years older than everyone there. In the last few years, I seem to be aging so fast and just looking so old. Am I just being vain? Maybe I should just be glad that I am healthy.
– Signed, BBD
Dear BBD: This is the season for reunions. I have never been to one in my entire life, so I may not be the one to talk about this! Actually, I graduated from a high school in Illinois and they probably can't find me. That's as good an excuse as any, huh? But, I do know that like everyone else I am bombarded by talk of aging and disease from every possible angle.
We have grown up with TV and movie personalities who have to endure our scrutiny of their aging on the covers of tabloids. When we open our email page the right side of the page is full of ads for wrinkle free miracles and "sage" advice from people who weigh all of 98 pounds, have reached the ripe old age of 24, make more money in a few months than you ever dreamed of in a lifetime and invite you to tune in and "trend" what's going on in their lives. America watches TV reality shows peopled by folk trying desperately to avoid reality.
We live in an interesting time. But then, my grandmother used to say the same thing...the world is going to hell in a hand basket. Well, maybe not.
This is a great time to be alive. And yes, there are many unfortunate circumstances and diseases as a result of stress and lifestyle. There are also amazing strides in the availability of information to help counteract the ravages of these things.
To have finished high school 40 years ago was no small accomplishment. Doing so in the early 70's was an opportune time. I happen to believe that while it may be true that genes have a lot to do with some aging and health factors, I also know from experience that attitude goes a very long way in creating and sustaining a certain quality of life.
If you are finding yourself beginning to age more rapidly as evidenced by your looks, consider these questions remembering "a merry heart doeth good like a medicine":
Are you genuinely looking forward to each day?
Are you savoring every moment, every meal, every sunrise and sunset, every smile, every encounter?
Are you waking up everyday anticipating what you will learn new?
Have you set a goal to develop that area of your life that you never before believed you could have, or deserve or desire?
Are you turning desires into goals that you can set and accomplish every day?
Are you giving yourself credit for the lifetime of valuable experience and learning that you can share and use to enrich the lives of others?
Are you taking inventory of the lines on your face that represent the times you laughed to keep from crying, or the time you laughed when things were just downright silly, stupid and deserving to be laughed at? All wrinkles don't deserve a bad rap!
A few years ago, I noticed that more and more people were saying "yes, ma'am" to me. I looked in the mirror and darned if I hadn't started to look old enough to be my sons' Mom and those other little people's grandmother! My looks changed. My state of mind, however, is still vibrant and more curious with each passing day. I believe that I should be able to walk quickly, stand erect, feel and look beautiful, speak with earned authority, enjoy every meal as I eat sensibly, laugh when I am tickled, cry when I want to and give out of the overflow of God's great abundance in my life.
Like everyone else, I have no idea what's in store for me. But, I do know that every day will be used to appreciate this awesome gift of life and learn, learn, learn as by God's grace I am allowed to give, give, give.
You are not being vain, just curious...and that always leads to new revelations.
(For help with the feelings that get in the way of prayer and peace of mind, get Lucy's new book, "BE NOT ANXIOUS." Order it directly from her at 901-907-0260 or go to her web site www.heartworks4u.com.)