By Rev. Sharon Holt
(As published in The Observer newspaper)
Current cultural wisdom decrees that 60 is the new 40. If that were true, 65 would be the new 45. Unfortunately, it’s not true. Sixty is still 60, and 65 is, well, old. I know: I turned 65 in November.
Turning 65 brings a host of challenges along with all the vaunted wisdom age confers. For example, I had to wade through the morass of packets of information sent to me by every health insurance company on the planet extolling the virtues of their particular Medicare supplemental plan. It seemed to me enough stress to have to switch to Medicare from the plan I’ve had for over 40 years without having to get a hernia while taking in the mail every day.
Sixty-five brings with it the added wisdom that one needs to sit on the edge of the bed before getting up each morning to see what is working and what is going to send daggers of pain coursing through your central nervous system when you put weight on it. The pain is a poignant reminder that you are getting older, but on a positive note you know you are still alive to acknowledge your suffering.
As a pastor, I turned to the scripture for consolation and recognition of my age and that the roller coaster of life has long since peaked for me and I am most definitely on the downhill side careening toward the hereafter. I was comforted when I read that Methuselah lived to the ripe old age of 969, Jared to 962, Noah to 950 and Adam finally stopped wandering the earth regretting eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil at age 930. Sarah, God bless her, had Isaac when she was 90, which must have provided many challenges because she went to meet her maker when she was a mere 127 years old.
With those numbers in mind, I no longer felt quite so ancient and feeble and began to think about the positive aspects of 65; my parishioners pay closer attention now that I am a virtual fount of sage wisdom (snicker). Seriously, there is much to be said for the accumulated wisdom garnered through two full-time careers and service to several churches. There are very few crises that phase me, because I’ve been there and done that. I can more readily empathize with elderly church members who spend their time inventorying their aches and pains, because I literally share their pain. It is easier to comfort those who are grieving the loss of loved ones, because I’ve bade farewell to more than a few of my own.
Sixty-five is definitely okay when I consider the alternative. Besides, when I had to call our trash disposal company when the church dumpster hadn’t been emptied and was informed that it had despite obvious evidence to the contrary, I finally got to use the line, “Young man, if I were going to take up lying this late in my life, it wouldn’t be over trash.” Actually, 65 is pretty cool after all!