#11 50 Things to Do When You Turn 50, edited by Ronnie Sellers, 2005
I was 45 in 2005, when this book was published, which means I probably bought it around the year 2010 when I turned 50.
Never finished it. Never got very far into it. Even though I remember the first chapter was delightful, most of the chapters don’t suggest things that interest me. I don’t want to jump off a bridge. Or jump out of an airplane. I did think I wanted to jump on a trampoline and told my sister the other day that perhaps we could do that when I turn 60. She said, “have you been on a trampoline lately?” I think she may be on to something. I can get motion sickness riding in an elevator now. As a kid, nothing thrilled me more than roller coasters and merry-go-rounds. I do think those day are over. And that’s ok. No need to relive certain thrills.
Perhaps when people turn fifty its when the bucket list begins. But if you’re a woman and turning fifty, menopause happens. It’s real. And for most of my early fifties it was hard. One minute I was fine, and the next was ready to jump out of my skin–preferably into a pool of cool water. I wanted no responsibilities for anyone, not even myself.
This too shall pass.
And it did.
Here is one take-away from the book that came screaming at me when they were suggesting I do something in my fifties that I had no desire of doing:
Don’t just do something so that you can say you’ve done it. I think the world tells us we have to do such-and-such in order to be fulfilled. I don’t think the world has a clue at times.
However. There a some things I’ve done since turning fifty that I do recommend:
- Be creative. Find your inner-artist. Just yesterday I was getting my taxes done, and the professional doing them said, “let’s see, what shall we put for your occupation? How about artist.” I laughed. Suggested potter, and thought I’d also be pleased with artist.
- Give away more than you purchase. There have been a couple of years in the past decade where I’ve made a pledge with myself to not by anything material for an entire year. I usually never make it a whole year when my birthday comes around in November, or my aunts visit in the summer. This is sizing up to be another one of those years to be non-materialistic. There is more freedom in this than you may think.
- Find a ministry you can plug into. Can I just tell you how much I love showing up on Wednesday nights at my church? The joy of the fellowship in our moms’ group is other worldly to me. And, truly, all I have to do is show up. My dear ministry leader packs more into one hour than is always humanly possible, and I get to participate in the best community I’ve experienced in G’town EVER! And I’ve been here 25 years! I imagine even the “cloud of witnesses” are looking in on us wth sheer delight.
And, one final thing that I think can occur almost naturally in your fifties: perhaps we get a little more other-focused. It’s not about us, and we can feel free to walk into a crowded room and enjoy just being there. We finally realize that no one is talking about us, and if they are, we don’t care! We can work on being most comfortable with an audience of One, and realize that He truly is the only One that matters for our emotional well being.
#12 Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God by Noel Piper, 2005
This book was also written in 2005, the year I graduated from seminary, and now that I think about it, I did have a bucket list. Two things were on it, that I recall:
to run an urban camp and learn to throw pottery.
The urban camp came in the summer of 2011 and quickly became my favorite week of the year. Pottery lessons came about three months after I graduated. Ten years later, I turned Tom’s garage into my clayhouse.
These dreams-fulfilled seem a bit self-indulgent after reading stories of missionary women. These women know a discipline and servant nature that I know nothing of. Several years ago, after reading Amy Carmichael’s story, it had me thinking that I wanted to pray like her–Lord, use me anyway you want–and then she fell in a hole. I took that prayer back so fast, I was hopeful it hadn’t hit the throne of God yet.
Living the American dream has turned many of us, me included, into frogs lounging in warm water. There is no trying to find balance in that. There is only tension.
As my friend said, if grace is off the table, I’m in trouble. (paraphrased) #metoo.
It’s hard not to look at a life lived in total surrender and utter hardship on some difficult mission field serving the Almghty and not think: I could never measure up. There always seems to be some part of my mind that says, “this far God, no farther.” And perhaps that’s because when you are His, you know that life will not be safe or easy. It really is hard to say, “Do anything God, that will fit me for your kingdom.” So, does he require us to be Amy Carmichaels? I don’t think so.
I do think that when you belong to Him, He will take you to places that you thought you didn’t want to go, and once you are there, you are filled with inexpressible joy, and wouldn’t wish it any other way.
The hymn, “Let Him Have His Way With Thee” comes to mind.
His power can make you what you ought to be … his blood can cleanse your heart and make you free .. His love can fill your soul, and you will see … twas best for Him to have His way with thee.