My girls took me to New Orleans last week-end to see the touring Broadway production of Aladdin at the Saenger Theatre. I had a wonderful time and thoroughly enjoyed their company, something I appreciated far too little when they still lived at home.
After the show, in between playing games and comparing the movie to the stage show, we discussed current events.
And I became painfully aware of the generation gap.
You’d have thought that I had an advantage. That very evening I’d gone on my first-ever Lyft ride AND we were staying in an Airbnb, another first for me.
So I was feeling all hip and, what’s the word? Woke? Yes, I was woke.
But they were a mixed bag of tricks, those girls.
The oldest is more socially aware than I am, and she won’t hesitate to tell you if she thinks you are wrong.
The youngest is a true millenial and gets her daily news feed from America’s First Family, the Kardashians.
And the middle one, the perennial peacemaker of the family, will agree to all sides of opposite views to keep everyone happy.
So, we had some lively discussions!
But one conversation left me flustered as I couldn’t defend my point but knew I was right in what I was saying. It took another two days of reflection before I understood the logic.
We were talking about maturity, changing priorities, and mellowing out.
I said that there were a lot of things that used to bother me that don’t anymore. I attributed the biggest change to age. My oldest daughter insisted it was experiences that changed a person, regardless of age. I agreed with that statement because I have had some seismic shifts that changed me greatly at various ages of my life.
But there was still something that came with age- I couldn’t define it- but it caused another great shift in thinking.
The Lord had changed me, no doubt about it, but if I wanted to, I could pick up that old anger, or guilt, or blame and tote it around awhile.
But somewhere in the last couple of years, I didn’t even want to LOOK at those old buckets.
“So, you’re telling me I’m going to have a birthday and magically be changed?” The child definitely inherited her snark from me.
The two younger girls fell into fits of laughter. They probably had a bet on which of us would win this debate, their know-it-all mother or never-wrong sister.
It was a draw as I refused to concede and she ruled my assertion utterly ridiculous but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Why DID it change? And, gasp, could she have been right and it was just coincidence that it happened in my late 40s?
But the answer was in the question.
It WAS an age thing. At 45, you become an expert mathematician. And you are infinitely more aware that you have likely already lived more of your life than you have left. We joke about being OVER THE HILL at 30 but the true meaning of OVER THE HILL is that half your life is over.
You start becoming aware that time stops for no man, dreams not pursued will never come true, and life is too short to waste on things you can’t change.
That includes the past, other people, and even signs with misspelled words.
It scares me a little.
Not death, as I know that my death is only the beginning of an eternal life with Christ and all my loved ones who have chosen Him as their Savior.
But that I’m never going to reach that place, or BE that person God wants me to be. Every time I think I’m close, I realize just how far I still have to go.
And I want to arrive at those pearly gates knowing I did everything I ever wanted to do, everything He wanted me to do, and that I didn’t waste another ounce of energy on things that didn’t matter.