Odd, isn’t it, how our perceptions change as we age. When I was very small, my brother, who was all of 18 months older, defined “big.” When I was in 1st grade, I thought 4th graders were a higher life form, but by the 6th grade I was old enough to realize that the new batch of 4th graders were in fact little kids.
My parents surely knew everything there was to know until I was a teenager, when they became clueless practically overnight. I could never imagine them as children, but now it’s hard to believe that my own children are parents. My grandparents always seemed old, but now I’m a grandparent myself. Age, I’m finding out, can be as much a matter of attitude as of years.
Robert Browning revealed the secret to aging gracefully when he wrote:
Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made.1
If I’d read that 30 or 20 or even 10 years ago, that wisdom would have been lost on me, but now the prospect of new experiences and perspectives as I grow older excites me. Others around my age who bemoan each birthday and complain about a few wrinkles can take to heart the next lines from Browning’s poem:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith, “A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!”
Faith in God and His loving plan for our lives changes everything. The longer I live in His love and the closer I try to follow His plan, the surer I am that “the best is yet to be.”
- Robert Browning, “Rabbi Ben Ezra,” 1864