Is 47 Old?
This week I turned 47. I’m not upset about getting older because I have a great life, full of people who love me, people to love, a job that is challenging and purposeful. I live in an incredibly beautiful part of the world and I have opportunities to enjoy it. I spent my birthday sitting on the balcony of our 15th floor holiday apartment looking out over a picturesque beach, a sparkling blue ocean, whales swimming by. The white sand littered with colourful beach umbrellas, children playing, young adults kicking footballs and tossing frisbees. It was absolutely perfect.
Okay, 47. Too old to get away with immature stupidity, too young to waste the knowledge and experience of life so far. The prime of my life! I’m healthy and fit, my children don’t need me for day to day needs, my life is well established. I know who I am, what I like, what I don’t. What am I going to do with this new year that I have?
More of what is good, less of what is not? More time reading the Bible and less time watching TV? More prayer and less wine? More exercise and less coffee and macarons? Is that what I want this year to be about? What do I really want more of and less of?
More peace, more contentment, more faith. Less worry, less stress, less crankiness.
I find peace when I spend time in God’s word and in creation. No doubt. I find God there, His love, His supremacy, His presence, and this is exactly what fills me with peace. Problems shrink when I hold them against the God of the Bible, and the God of creation. This year I need to spend time in God’s word every day, and get outside regularly.
What makes me feel content? Simple things. A good cup of coffee, good friends, meals with my family, gardening and sewing. I like doing familiar things in familiar places. Favourite meals in favourite restaurants, routines and rituals, Friday night dates and Saturday morning Pilates. I need to regularly disconnect and be present to enjoy the simple pleasures in life.
There’s nothing that builds my faith like doing things that I didn’t think I could. Aiming high, working hard, putting myself out there. It forces me to cry out to God and rely more fully on Him. I love the opportunities that come my way and the encouragement of friends and colleagues to give it a go. It’s amazing what I can accomplish with a great cheer squad! I need to listen more to my cheer squad and less to the doubts and insecurities in my head.
I don’t worry a lot for myself, but I love to worry for others. People I know who are sick, grieving, unemployed, navigating divorce. I hate that I can’t make the pain go away and fix things. All I can do is stay in touch, pray and encourage. Sometimes that feels like enough, other times it doesn’t. The best tool I’ve found to help me hand the people I love into God’s care is a prayer journal. I write out people by name. I listen to God’s heart for them. Somehow I process it better when I write it all down. This year I need a new prayer journal, and I need to write in it regularly.
This is where I need to get intentional and actually do all the things that I know to do. Exercise regularly, eat well, meditate, read good books, turn off the news. There are seasons when I find it really hard. I can see the crash coming but feel powerless to stop it. My new ‘less stress’ plan is to put it in the diary, and actually plan to be less stressed. I have a planner I use, with a to do list and time slots for each hour of the day. I use it for work tasks, but don’t include much on my days at home. No longer! I’m going to have a go at putting my personal time in the diary as well.
How do I do less crankiness? Probably a combination of more peace and contentment and less worry and stress should do the trick. I hate the way that the people I love the most seem to be the first ones I snap at when I’m tired and stressed. A bit of self-awareness goes a long way here. Check the stress in at the door and enjoy my family, not snap at them. It won’t be long until I will come home from work to a tidy kitchen where everything is just the way I left it. In the meantime I’ll enjoy the kids, as well as the mess they create.
One week in, I'm excited! It's going to be a great year.