Do Me a Favor

Do Me a Favor (1,234)

August 10th, 2011

When I was twenty-three years old, I distinctly remember hating old people, which in my mind’s eye, was anyone over the age of forty. They seemed slow, sad, burdened, self-righteous, judgmental and just permeated with anxiety. I had to be careful not to become depressed over the notion of each birthday because I knew I was gradually creeping my way towards the living crypt of becoming an old person. No wonder people are afraid of twenty-five, thirty and thirty-five years of age—because they look around and see an aging populace which has survived all those birthdays and come out looking like they’ve been doused in acid while drinking lemon juice without sweeteners. I even hear ministers lament that their congregations are filled with old people, and it’s universally accepted that this is a negative.

Really? When did it ever become a nasty notion to have someone with experience working with you side by side? Yet old people don’t bring energy to the party of life—they bring rules, regulations and regrets. So young people who would be greatly rejuvenated by the affirmation that an older person was still invigorated by life have to be brought down by the realization that each passing birthday cake means that eventually they will have a cake and not be able to eat it, too. Why? Bad attitude, bad teeth, inability to blow out the candles or no sugar because of diabetes. Yes, a generation of people who have stockpiled experience is lost to a general demeanor of sour dispositions, conversations about medications and disgruntled feelings about the youth around them.

That is why I was thrilled last night in Cobleskill, New York, I met a woman who was twenty to twenty-five years my senior, but had not one single drop of agedness touching her emotions and spirit. She was conversational. She smiled. She had nary one complaint. She had been everywhere. She wanted to continue to talk on and on about the goodness of life. She is the kind of person of ilk and age who makes it possible for younger human beings to rejoice over the possibility of gaining maturity and wisdom instead of just backaches and pensions. I didn’t want to let her go. Every time her friend wanted to pull her away, thinking that she was troubling me, I re-engaged the conversation to take another drink from her delightful soul.

I will say it loud and proud: Jonathan Richard Cring is more attractive, intelligent, fun and brilliant at fifty-nine years of age than he ever was at twenty-nine. I am better at everything. And I’m not so foolish as to think such a statement reeks of pride—no, it is a celebration of a journey where my heavenly Father has not only accompanied me, but we have planned together to make this passage of my life into a party of spirit.

I would like all of you who find you are getting a little older to do me a favor. Actually perform one of three functions. I would hope that you would go ahead and be the beacon and visionary that God intended for those who have longevity, rejoicing in the Lord always—and again I say, rejoice—and develop the ability to take life on with a smile instead of with a prune-like frown.

If not, my second suggestion would be that you stay home. Have your groceries delivered to you and leave the money for them outside the door so as not to depress the delivery boy. Yes, stay in your home and complain about the texture of your oatmeal and how your cereal box has fewer flakes than it used to. Just don’t inflict your lack of appreciation for human life onto others.

Here is the third and final suggestion: put yourself on notice. In other words, I am older. It does hurt more. All my dreams didn’t come true. I do “cranky” better than “creative.” So I am determined to catch myself in the action of being the aging nerd instead of accepting that it’s just my lot, or even my obligation, because I have crossed a certain barrier in time.

I am not asking you to be perfect. I am asking you to perfect the art of overcoming difficulty by using the experience and mind that God has granted you. (And by the way, you little piss-ants in your twenties who are trying to ACT like you’re seventy years old—please vacate your stupidity quickly and enjoy your great wealth of vitality and immaturity.) Now, back to my points. Here are the top three ways for my maturing “oldsters” to overcome the depression of the process:

1. Laugh. I don’t care what you think is funny, but sometime in the day brush up against it and giggle like a schoolgirl.

2. Shut up and stop criticizing the younger generation for what they do and remind yourself of the rolls YOU took in the hay.

3. Remember that God is older than you but still always in a better mood.

Do me a favor—bless your generation until you’re not allowed to anymore by being a symbol of the glory of the passing years instead of a testimony of the disaster of hanging around too long.

Alex Haley once said, “When an old person dies, it’s like a library burning down.” So true. Each life contains volumes of experience and a wealth of knowledge. So stop drying out your library and setting it on fire yourself before it’s time for your light to finally be jettisoned away.

Published in: on August 10, 2011 at 12:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

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