By Sarah Godwin
This year I turned 50. The weeks before my birthday found me thoughtful, somber—even a little depressed. I began feeling my life was over, the best was past, I might as well quit. How could I be 50? The senior citizens’ group at our church begins at age 50. I can’t retire and draw Social Security at age 50; why should I be considered a senior citizen? Of course, I began receiving AARP mailings urging me to join. I refuse to be old enough to join! Other than the wonderful surprise birthday party a friend threw for me, turning 50 felt disheartening.
After my half-a-century birthday passed, I continued to ponder my life. Had I really already accomplished the best of what I could do? Was it downhill from here? Maybe my opportunities to make a mark were over. Had I outlived my usefulness and productivity? Was it time to let someone younger take over my duties?
Day and night I mulled over these thoughts. I didn’t dare let my husband and daughter know how troubled I was. I didn’t tell my best friend; she’s 51 and didn’t need to be dragged down with me. Instead, I did what I’ve been doing since age 10 when I met Jesus Christ as my Savior; I told the Lord about it.
“Lord, I feel so blue. I can’t believe how turning 50 has affected me. Am I through? Can’t You still use me? Help me, Lord. I’ve got to figure out how to get past this and go on.”
As He has faithfully done since my childhood, the Lord began ministering to my need. One day in my daily devotions the day’s message addressed my struggle. Joshua 13:1 read: “Now Joshua was old and stricken in years; and the Lord said unto him, ‘Thou are old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed.’” I wasn’t sure about “old and stricken”, but through His words, the Lord began to stir in my heart the truth that there remains much to do. Psalm 92: 14 confirms this: “They shall still bring forth fruit in old age…”
“Still, Lord? There’s still something for me to do?”
The words of the Lord changed my mindset. I may be 50, but I’m not washed up. I have a lot to offer! Reaching 50 was a milestone—now I needed to plan for the next chapters. I began to decide where I wanted to go, and what I wanted to do.
Health was first on my mind. I thank the Lord that I’m still healthy, but I want to stay that way. I’ve started trying to walk daily—gotta keep active. My mother discovered she was a diabetic at age 50; I don’t want to go there, so I’ve cut way back on sugar. With age comes wisdom of taking better care of our bodies. If I’ve got to be a senior citizen, I want to be a healthy, fit one!
Dreams were a second priority. I’ve always been a dreamer, but now it’s time to do something about those dreams. For years I’ve thought I’d like to write, but I’ve never given it much priority. Now’s the time to make it a priority. I’m going to fulfill those goals, and act on those dreams.
A final priority was imparting some of my hard-earned wisdom to those coming along behind me. Just recently a young woman came to me for advice and counsel. Not only did I sit and talk and pray with her, but I followed up to see how she was. I want to be truly involved in the lives of others besides my family, helping them along their journeys. There are younger women to whom I can minister. They need me—they need us, older women with years of life experience.
I’m still learning how to be 50, but I’m no longer discouraged about it. It’s a new challenge, and, by God’s grace, I’m up to it! I’m going to take care of my health, follow my dreams, and help the younger generations. But I think I’ll put off that AARP membership a few more years!