With age comes new lessons

This week I wrap up the first year of my thirties. Turn?ing 30 was never something I dreaded, nor something I looked forward to. It just was. And 31 will be the same.

I?d like to think that since arriving in 1983, I?ve learned a thing or two. That I?ve grown up and wizened up. And that I?ll continue on that path.

As I get older, I realize there are two basic options for growing old: To get there with grace and humility, or with anger and regret. I?ve seen enough to know what the wise choice is, but I?m seasoned enough to know it won?t be easy.

But really, what part of life is?

I succeed and I fail. The key, I think, is not to get too caught up with myself.

Sometimes I struggle with that. I am serious by nature. I have high personal expectations. I like deep conversations. I would rarely be described as a barrel of laughs.

But I do find ways to have fun. And like most other years, 30 has brought ways to keep the serious side of life in check. While at times I might turn around and walk right into a wall, thus bringing on non-stop laughter, mostly I find lightness and joy from those around me.

One of my favorite big laughs of the past year happened not too long ago. It had snowed and my girls wanted to go outside to play. Dressed in snow gear, both girls gleefully ran out the back door.

A half-hour later, I heard crying on the porch. I opened the door to find my daughter sitting by the door, unable to get her snowboots off.

The reason? Fleece pants that had been tucked inside her boots at the get-go were now wrapped around the bottoms of the boots and frozen solid.

Our son, who is now 18 months old, is obsessed with the bathtub. One evening while we ran bath water for one of his sisters, he climbed in, shoes and all. There he sat, happily splashing away while his jeans soaked up water like a sponge.

The camera came out for that incident.

The most joyous memory of this year happened Feb 4. After asking questions the night before, our oldest daughter woke up and first thing of the day, accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. It?s amazing how a moment like that can bring on tears and a smile all at the same time!

My baby sister got married.

Our son learned to walk and now runs. His vocabulary has blossomed. He has even started sleeping in blessed 10-hour stretches.

Our daughter started kindergarten and has learned to read.

My other sister got engaged.

I spent a life-transforming weekend at Women?s Encounter.

Our church celebrated the retirement of a man near and dear to my heart.

These, and more, are reasons to treasure the past year.

If I wanted to, I?m sure I could find reasons to mourn getting older. I sure haven?t been able to lose the baby weight as easily as the first two times. I?m starting to get a few more wrinkles under my eyes. I certainly can?t jump 18 feet in long jump anymore, or run a quarter-mile under 60 seconds.

And if I?m really being honest here, I can?t run more than a few blocks without being winded. (Although I?d like to think I could if I could just find the time to get into shape?.)

But all my ?can?ts? are OK, because in my opinion, life continues to get better with age.

I feel extremely lucky, because I have proof of that. There are several ?seasoned? adults that I have come to love and respect. They are grace-filled and wise, and just plain beautiful.

And as I grow up, I hope to emulate their grace and humility in my own seasoning.