I believe I’ve mentioned before how my brain tends to run about four months behind the actual calendar, which is why it feels like it should be November, not February. But that’s not the only internal clock in my head that appears to be off-kilter. My internal age counter is even more inaccurate, maybe even delusional, as it feels I should perhaps be around 35 years old.
A quick reality check reminds me that the 30s have been in the rearview mirror for more than half my life now. In fact, my kids are older than 30. And my body absolutely, positively and definitely knows it’s not 30. Don’t even get me started on that. In fact, my life is full of constant reminders — from seven precious grandchildren to annoying solicitation mailings from the AARP and hearing aid companies — that I’ve racked up considerably more than three decades of living.
So why do I think, in my deluded head, that I’m still one of the younger ones at any gathering I attend? This, even as younger folks are giving up their seats for me and calling me “honey” in that way people do to show affection (or pity) for the aged.
As my 80-plus-year-old friend Edith used to feistily say, “But I feel so much younger in my head.” It’s not that she was afraid of what came next for her. Edith was a devoted follower of Christ and was actually quite excited about going to heaven. She was just frustrated that until then, she was going to be trapped in an old body.
I get it. Like Edith, I don’t fear my ultimate future, although pharmaceutical commercials and my own increasingly thick medical file certainly make me a bit apprehensive about the possible physical misadventures I may experience between now and then. It’s more a bewildered feeling of “Wow, how’d I get here so fast?”
It’s like I frequently tell sleep-deprived, stressed-out young moms: some of the days seem to last forever, but the years fly by. Even the more challenging years—the ones filled with colicky babies, hormonal teen children, surgeries and losses.
But let me be clear about one thing: I have absolutely no desire to stick around on this earth in this body forever. When I read how long people lived during Old Testament times, envy is not what I feel for them.
The king of senior citizens, Methuselah, racked up 969 years. For us, that would be like starting out in a 12-century medieval village and ending up in the age of jet travel and iPhones. Bible patriarch Jacob said his years had been “few” when the Egyptian Pharaoh asked him how old he was. Jacob was “only” 130 at that point and would go on to live another 17 years. That doesn’t seem like “few” to me.
Thinking about living to be 900 … or 400 … or even 147 honestly sounds exhausting. Think about all the colonoscopies you’d have to endure. And political campaigns. Even happy things like Christmas and wedding anniversaries might lose their luster after you’ve celebrated hundreds of them. And imagine planning family dinners when your relatives could easily number in the hundreds. That’s a lot of fried chicken and potato salad.
Thankfully, I don’t need to fret about any of that. I can leave it to the One who created time and has numbered my days. My internal clocks may be way off, but His aren’t.
“ … And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” — Psalm 139:16b
“But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in Your hands.” — Psalm 31:14-15