The ‘what’s important’ age | Mark’s Remarks

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You tend to do a lot of reflecting as you approach milestones. My age group is moving toward retirement, grandparenthood, and various stages of life that we are a bit startled about.  

Our graduating class was unable to have a reunion during COVID. So, two years later, we have decided to try it again. We all received a letter in the mail.  The letter told us to send in reservations for our shindig at the Elks Club. 

It was reported that our reunion will take place in the fall, during our town’s annual “Fall Fun Fest” in which the uptown streets are blocked off for a carnival of sorts. It was a happy letter; knowing we’d see old friends again and be able to reminisce. After many years, we’d all be together during the town’s fall festival, walking the same streets we used to congregate on, buying corn dogs and riding “The Tempest” together. Then we could walk over to the Elks Club and pretend to be grown-ups.

But all that euphoria and good feeling came to a screeching halt with the last sentence of the letter: “Be sure to send an update on what you’ve been doing for the last 37 years.”

What? Holy Toledo!

So getting to this point in your life, you start to think back on the many seasons you have gone through. I’m not talking about the weather. We go through various seasons of life in which we are dealing, coping, evolving and hopefully healing.

I was thinking about how people always say “If I knew now what I knew then,” and how very pointless that statement is. I mean, didn’t we have older folks telling us things, years ago, but we weren’t willing to listen or apply that knowledge? I’m not entirely convinced we would do much of anything differently than we did, with or without knowledge.

But I do think many of us get to a point where we start thinking about what is really important in life. Again, we reflect more. 

My priorities have changed. I get aggravated at people who seem to be in a constant state of anxiety, although I myself was there for many years. Once a people pleaser and a person who tried to fit in with everyone, I now value or view familial relationships and close friendships in different ways. I avoid many people I used to try and gain favor from. The group of people I chose to invest my time in has shrunk. I no longer think everything is work; that I’m just going from one task to the next. 

My joy comes more frequently and for different reasons. My relationship with God is different and better because of growth and maturity.   

Will I sit here and tell you my psyche and complete well-being is flawless and without blemish? Heck no. I think we keep growing and changing until our last breath. At least some of us.

It makes me wonder:  what is the age when we embrace what is really important to us? Does everyone experience it? How old are we and how much life has to pass us by before we decide to hand things over to God and just enjoy the ride?  

I’ve talked with folks about this, and some have told me they themselves or people they know have continued on that fretting and fussing road for their entire lives. These people are unable to be content and relax.  Constantly thinking about work, constantly thinking about what needs to be done, and possibly getting others around them stirred up and anxious seems to be their only mindset.  Things that should have taught them something seemed to pass them by. That’s a shame.

I’m not sure I’ve reached the “what I know is important” age yet, but I’m getting there. Thankfully, with each passing day, it gets easier. But I’ll be the first to tell you it’s taken a lot of thought and prayer. It’s very easy to let worldly stuff get in the way of what should really be our main priorities.

And regardless of how “in tune” I think I am, it’s still a bit unnerving to think I’ve been out of high school for 37 years.

Shudder.

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