It all really hit me the other day when I realized that my bathroom mirror had been lying to me for years. I found myself staring into the decorative mirror that is in my kitchen only inches away as I cleaned it. Why I hadn't noticed before, I'm not sure but I looked... O.L.D. I couldn't take my eyes off just how bad I looked. And then I couldn't stop thinking about how sad that made me feel. I had to just face the facts and admit the truth. I was no longer the youngest one in the room as I used to be but now I am the oldest. Almost every time I find myself in conversation I am the oldest. I really think one day I am going to cry about that.
When I get up from sitting for more than 15 minutes my feet hurt and my knees scream to stop trying to straighten. After a night's sleep I barely stand up straight upon rising and if I do it's not without pain. I have age spots on my hands and cheeks and I'm afraid to admit that my ankles are getting thick. Could I really one day be the butt of jokes about "cankles"? Please Lord, let it not be so.
A recent Gall Bladder attack got my attention. For the girl who never even had heartburn I thought I was having a heart attack. It was on the way home after a two week trip to Ohio to see family when it happened and it's a pain I never want to experience again. The blessing behind it is that during that trip my sister-in-law Na introduced me to the Raw Food Lifestyle. She found that after two rounds of Chemo for Ovarian Cancer, 5 years apart, that how she took care of her body might have a lot to do with how her body took care of her. I learned a lot not knowing how much of it I would soon put into practice. God was gracious and allowed that attack to happen only after I was securely in the home of my good friend and her husband who are both medical professionals. But as I stared at the clock at 1:23 am, I promised myself that I would never eat the same way again.
It's odd what God uses to get our attention. It's also odd when we look back over days, weeks, even years to see how He's prepared us for that particular place we find ourselves in. So, at 47 I am looking at everything differently. I have learned from my body that if I want health from it I have to give it healthy things. I have learned from my sister-in-law that it's not hard to be healthy I just have to be committed. I have learned from my friend Karen H. that life is too short to dwell on the bummers but to take hold of the best of life and run with it. I have learned from the tragedy of a dear couple at church that every moment with our children must be treasured because we are not guaranteed tomorrow. I have learned that my mother was right when she said "ignorance is bliss" and "I'll cross that bridge when I come to it". And I learned from my own experiences this summer that it may be easier just to sit and be comfortable but it's not the most fun and inevitably I'd be missing something spectacular.
So, this year I am homeschooling my two youngest and delighting in the fact that my two oldest haven't flown the coop yet. I have forsaken my innumerable lunches with friends, my afternoon snoozes, my shopping trips, and my hours of doing whatever I wanted whenever I wanted to. I have decided that I have to take care of me and part of that is taking care to enjoy my family and my life. It's been hard. I'm inherently lazy and selfish. There is a lot of work involved in this and I have committed myself to my kids in ways I haven't done in years. None of this is new to me but it's shocking how my "inner brat" is fighting me.
What I have to learn, at 47 is that it's time I appreciate what I have and who I am. It's not all about being young, thin, and pretty - although I still yearn for those days I will admit - it's about so much more. It's all good. It's all hard. It's all how it's supposed to be. I will muddle through and be the better for it. I won't regret a minute of it in the end and I'll be thankful for a heart that desires obedience to God more than trying to dismiss His call.