Continuing on the theme of perception, I thought I’d talk about that dreaded thing called old age. Why are we so obsessed with age? Why do we spend ridiculous amounts of money on make up, chemicals, surgery, even airbrushing, in the never ending search for youthfulness? What are we so afraid of?
Some days I feel like 101 and yet other days I still feel like a teenager even though those years are long gone. Is it all just a matter of perception?
The European Social Survey (the ESS) polled 40 000 people to see the differing opinions of the definition of ‘old age’. Apparently those aged 15-24 thought that youth ended at just 28 and old age started at 54. However, those in their 80’s regard the final year of youth to be 42 and old age began at 67. These numbers also varied in differing countries. For example, in Portugal they were no longer young at 29, but in Cyprus it was 45. Even climate, education and types of jobs factor in the equation. If you feel younger then old age seems further away.
I often wonder what it will be like when my knees give out, my bones become brittle, my eyesight worsens and the wrinkles take root. And then I remember that regardless of how old we feel, despite the fear we carry deep down inside, our Lord reassures us that He will be there. He will be our strength when we are weak. He keeps us young in spirit.
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. Isaiah 46:4 (NIV)
Are you struggling with that label “old age”? What is the best thing about growing older? How do you keep young?