My son and I recently went to an overnight camp together. Our time was filled with the typical camp activities – boating, swimming, songs, campfire, hot dog cookout, and one of my very least favorite things to do: “get to know you” games! Meeting new people in itself puts me way outside of my comfort zone. Top that with answering a silly question or playing a silly game and I’m filled with dread!
We had a small group; 8 kids (ages 6-9) and 6 adults, all women, mothers and grandmothers. This group of strangers gathered in a circle, and our college-aged staff person posed a question: What age do you think is the best age to be?
I thought about the question for a moment. I could maybe say my mid-20’s. Those were fun years, but they were “pre-kids” years. I can’t even begin to imagine life without my kids! I could look to a point in the future; maybe retirement when hopefully my husband and I have time and resources to travel. But this would be wishing away all of the fun (and yes challenging) family moments we have ahead.
So we started around the circle, and I’m uncertain what I’ll say. The kids were all over the place – silly boys with silly answers. I think they all wanted to be older than they were. Oh, how I wish I could make them understand how quickly life goes – just enjoy being a kid!
The responses from the adults surprised me. A grandmother said her ideal age was her mid-30’s, when her kids were young. Another mom said her 30s. The biggest surprise was from the college-aged staff person. She said her ideal age would be 35, hopefully in a happy, settled life with a spouse and a couple of kids.
Holy cow. Everyone wants to be 35. I AM CURRENTLY 35! Apparently, I am living the ideal age of my life RIGHT NOW! This is an overwhelming thought! Am I living in the best way possible? Have I taken advantage of the right opportunities? Will I look back at my mid-30’s and be filled with regret?
My mind starts to fill with panic. I say some prayers, and try not to dwell on my own need to be in control. As I continue to ponder, I realized something – the question was bad. There is no “ideal” age of life! Whatever age you are right now, that is what you must be content with. If we spend our moments living in the past, either filled with envy or regret, we lose the ability to fully live now. If we wish away our days moving only towards a point in the future, we lose the ability to fully live now!
So I conclude – I am 35 years old and I am the ideal age; not because 35 is the best age to be, but because that is the age I am! I must recognize each day as a gift from God and know that if I let God take control, only then can I be content with each and every day, no matter what life brings.
Have I not commanded you? ‘Be strong and courageous.Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot. Proverbs 14:30