Are you still flexible enough to think of others, to continue growing, and to deal with change in your life?
"But, we've always done it this way!"
"I'm too old to change."
"Now that I'm older, I'm going to have my way."
You may have said these same things.
I know I have. Somehow, we may feel that after being polite and saying and doing the right things all our lives, we are entitled to have our own way and say whatever we want.
I spoke to a woman recently who made a similar statement. It made me think. How would our world work if every senior citizen suddenly decided it was his turn to have it all his own way? Anarchy would result, selfishness would abound, and rights would be trampled. And who could say where the rights of one person invade the rights of another?
God gave us a very good example in Matthew 7:12, commonly called the Golden Rule:
"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets" (NIV). Also Luke 6:31 says, "Do to others as you would have them do to you."
Age is not mentioned here.
I don't believe God means for us to stop caring for others just because we grow older. He wants us to continue to use His principles in our interaction with others even at this stage of our lives.
Seniors may be more confined or lonely, and it is very easy to become self-centered in such circumstances. Life is going on just outside our door, but we seem to be oriented on our own problems.
The important quality of flexibility is the necessity to age gracefully.
Our families and friends still need to know we are interested in them. This can be done by setting aside our own personal agendas and truly listening to what they are saying. Life can be pretty hectic for our younger family members. The "fast lane" zooms by us and makes us long for the "good old days." We may comfortably sink into our reveries of the past, and then get upset and angry when others don't conform to our idea of how things should be.
People just don't live in the same way anymore.
Learning to appreciate what our family and friends experience is the key to making life less complicated and frustrating. Change will always be a part of life. Nothing and no one is exempt from it. Our situation may be devastating to us, but we also need to move ahead and see what new chapter of life God has for us. Younger couples, balancing two jobs and raising children, cannot be at our beck and call whenever we want them to be.
A realistic look at the lives of our loved ones and friends can be very helpful in making us more flexible.
As our lives wind down, accepting that we cannot have everything we want is hard. Yet, we can make our own lives and those of our loved ones much happier by being willing to give up a lot of our expectations of how it will be when we get older. Maybe others cannot spend every minute focusing on our needs, but we can certainly try to see things from their perspective.
It may be a challenge, but I just wonder, am I still flexible enough to continue growing regardless of my age?
© 2011 Crystal J. Ortmann