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Sharing the insights I discover as I explore and experience the mystery that is our reality. Join me in my journey and share yours.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Reflections on Aging as I Approach 30

As I soon approach the age of thirty I am provoked to reflect on the concept of aging. After all, thirty is kind of a bench mark in the aging process. It hurdles me tirelessly into what is generally considered  the "middle age" zone of life. 

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Society does everything in its power to sway us from embracing the concept of aging. Look at all the "anti-aging" products out there. We have everything from wrinkle cream, hair dye, surgical procedures aimed at nipping, tucking and zapping away those stubborn pieces that  remind us and others of our dissipating youth.  Images that flash across screens, billboards, pages of magazines do not reflect the images we regularly see walking down the street, entering the library or strolling down the aisles of grocery stores perusing the latest "100 calorie only" products. Instead they are airbrushed illusions that beckon to our subconscious to partake in the endless race for youth. But are we meant to run backward, struggling to hold on to the past and make it the present? Or should we rather embrace the present and with a discerning acceptance look forward to what our lives have shaped for us in terms of the course of our futures?

Much of the "anti-aging" propaganda that exists centers around our inherent fear of death. Death is that looming dark mysterious end that takes no prisoners but engulfs us all into its abyss. It cares not whether you are rich or poor, black or white. Everyone succumbs to the reality of our bodies simply getting too tired to go on, our hearts no longer strong enough to pump and circulate life throughout our fragile forms. Everyone dies. But few want to.

The glorious thing about being a Christian is that I don't fear death. No, I'm not running towards it with open arms, but I don't have the fear I once had. There's a terror that can invade one's innermost thoughts of the unknown. But when one knows God that all changes. We can be assured that when our time comes we will finally be at union with our Maker. The peace and love that we experience from the Spirit within us during our lifetimes is just a fraction of what we will experience when we finally break through to the other side and, spirit to Spirit, meet our Father. I know all will be well with my soul. I have experienced enough...not just read or learned, but experienced spiritually enough of God, to know there is nothing to fear.

So death aside, what is my personal take on aging? Personally, I wouldn't trade the knowledge and wisdom I've acquired as the years have passed by. God, by His Grace, has opened me up to truths and experiences that in my youth I would have never have considered nor sought. We all go through that immature period of ego, where Self reigns and eternal truths go out the window as we seek not spiritual things but that which gratifies our five senses. At least I did! As time has passed I have acquired less of a taste for the carnal things of life and more of a deep thirst for the things of God. For His presence, His truths. I wouldn't trade that journey for an immortal life steeped in a shallow existence of materialism. I feel, if we are wise, aging brings much enlightenment and embracing change, not trying to prevent it, brings a satisfaction and growth like no other.

So as I find myself aging am I running for the bottle of hair dye whose color most appeals to me? Do I scurry down the isles feverishly looking for moisturizer and other skin products that will keep my appearance akin to what I looked like when I was 20? Well, honestly, yes, I've dyed my hair and yes, I am not an extremely vain person but I try not to fry my skin in the sun. Let's not bring on age prematurely! But I don't fear the wrinkles when they do come, and the gray hair, well, though I'm not keen on it I am reminded of a verse I came across recently in proverbs:

Proverbs 16:21  Gray hair is a crown of glory, it is gained in a righteous life.

My study Bible didn't elaborate more on that verse but I'd like to think gray hair is a symbol of aging. And when, as we grow older, we do it to God's glory, our age indeed symbolizes a life of righteousness. In my next thirty years, I plan on continuing on the amazing journey I have not too long ago begun. A journey that leads me to lose the attachments in life my first 30 years have acquired, baggage that weighs me down spiritually, and live progressively more free in Christ seeking more opportunities to bring Him glory and serve those among me in His name.

My prayer is that for whatever time God has left for me here on earth, every beat of my heart, every breath that I take, shall be devoted to Him. It took me nearly 30 years to awaken to God's Spirit within my heart. When I finally did, it was truly a transforming process as I was bathed in His love, grace and His peace that is, indeed, beyond anything that can be obtained on earth. I will waste no more time, as I did in my youth, clinging to that which is fleeting and temporary but instead, seeking to know that which is eternal. May we all slowly free ourselves from the clutches of commercialism, materialism and culture and set our eyes on God.

What are your thoughts on aging? I'd love to hear them! Please leave them in the comments section!


  1. Oh Jess...you're still a kid ;) I'm 46 and each year gets better - seriously. Age is all in the mind and I know youngsters who are much 'older' than me because they've become cynical. As long as we love, and search for the truth and rejoice at being alive, we'll be young.

  2. I love your line, "But are we meant to run backward, struggling to hold on to the past and make it the present?" Great visualization! I recently found out that the average American child sees nearly 8,000 commercials on TV, just for food and beverages; imagine what the total number of commercials an average child sees a year! I bring this up to say that we need to counter-balance the images and viewpoints that the media and corporations are aiming at our children; commercialism and advertisement is designed to create a weakness and to elicit a perceived need in the viewer's mind; if not, it's not effective. "Buy this and you will look younger, try this and you will be thinner." I agree that we must be confident in who we are (In Christ) or we will succumb to the whim's of corporate advertisement.

  3. Hi Jessica, 30 is still so young! I remember it was difficult for me to say goodbye to my 20´s. Like you say there is something about turning 30...a benchmark. I embraced turning 40 although a lot of other things go along with that..

  4. Stay calm my child. I'm a very young minded 48 year old. As you so rightly said with age comes knowledge, wisdom, and grey hair, but my relief, and gift is that i still have all of my hair. If you seek the tonic of youth, i think you'll find it's called a healthy lifestyle, maybe a cheap plug, but so, so true.

  5. Some women grow more beautiful with age Jessica. But only those who have the light of Christ shining through their countenance – as you so obviously do!
    A confession: I once purchased Ageless Science from Alouette – that pricey face potion that takes years off the skin. Then I decided that it wasn’t worth it. I’ll age as gracefully as possible, and meanwhile drink from the fountain of youth: the Living Water.

  6. You're a mere child in terms of years and you have many more years still to come. Age is only a number as the true figure comes from the heart; how old you feel is how old you truly are. That said sometimes I'm 15 and other times I'm 84 :) Happy Birthday!!!

  7. Happy Birthday Jess !! And i m still in 20's ,every part of life teaches you something !! so ve have to go on with that but a change in you can bring back lots of difference it doesn't bother in what age ve are age just bring changes in external... It depend's upon your thinking and attitude !!

  8. happy birthday! the older I get the more I realize how little I know and the more teachable I become...I also buy wrinkle cream, color my hair and from time to time put on lipstick and I do it for me. Now in my younger years it less about fear of death and more about vanity...I was very vain ~life sometimes has a humbling effect!

  9. Over the years I have gained wisdom, inner resources and lots more that I had no knowledge of in my youth. At this point in my life I say - age? bring it on! I loved your post - this is a great one.

  10. Such wisdom in one so young, Jess! You are such a talented writer and your insights are terrific.
    Yes, I highlight my hair and wear make-up, but the wrinkles? I've earned every one. Aging is an inevitable process and I decided, many years ago, to just go with the flow. It is true that you are as young as you feel!

  11. I totally agree with Corrine. Age is only in the mind. And yes I wouldnt want to trade my age because then I would be giving away all that I have experienced and gained in life.


  12. the secret of staying young is. don't tell but eating birthday cake is the major cause of ageing. so don't eat it and stay young look a Jack Benny he is still 39 lol happy birthday god bless

  13. Oh Jessica...I've been reading and reflecting on this for a time. It pays to be beautiful but then it depends on what we really want in life and what has become our priority.

    When I went to Italy, at 26, I felt I was mature enough to handle the missions. But they said I still have to eat plenty of spaghetti before I could say I'm ready.

    Here, the dermatologists get high salaries --- skin wrinkles are ironed, breasts are enhanced, butts are made to look great...geez! Appearance becomes more important in such a commercialized world.

    But gray hair is a sign of wisdom, I agree. Wisdom comes with age and experience...

    I love how your faith has grown throughout the years...keep on growing in age, beauty and wisdom Jessica :)

    Thanks for this wonderful reflection!

  14. Hi Jessica -

    You know the real deal about aging and death is that we have absolutely zwero (0) control over it. I know we can eat better, use creams, exercise, ect....but still that does not control matters. When the moment comes that God calls our name, we gone. Our passing could be near-instantaneous or transpire of the course of weeks, months, and even years (as in illness). If we are focused upon our ending doesn't that distract us from living and loving today,,,in the moment,,,as God tells us to do? Great post as always Jessica. :)