Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"59 is the new 30"

In his column "59 is the new 30" in today's New York Times, Thomas Friedman writes about Tom Watson, who at 59 almost won the British Open, a golf tournament.

The gist of Friedman's column is that Watson, a man with a hip replacement and an apparently less than buff body, is an inspiration.

As I have entered into my 50s, I have met many people my age who still feel as if they were 30. I do too. Like many Baby Boomers, I met 50 with a sense of unreality--how could this be happening to me? But what is this "this" but a frame of mind?

Though I don't follow golf, the Friedman column struck me, because, in my work on girls' series literature, I have recently talked with the husband of the late Marcia Martin, author of the Donna Parker series. At the age of 65, after completing a very successful career in publishing, he pursued a lifelong dream and earned a law degree. Now, in his 80s, he is still practicing law. I find that courage and faith on his part to complete a law degree in his 60s inspirational. It's particularly timely as I ponder "unfinished" educational business in my life, such as my dissertation, and wonder if "it's worth it" to finish it.

What we need to do is not try to parse the future, but follow where we're led, remembering we worship a God of abundance, not scarcity. How can we predict how much time we have? As the Biblical James said "you do not even know what will happen tomorrow." It is as much hubris to decide we won't have enough time as it is to assume we'll do something or be someplace next year.

"What Tom did last week was an affirmation of life," Friedman writes in his column, quoting someone quoting Leonard Bernstien. Indeed. I thought about the Bible too and the words about our sleep being multiplied, being given the wings of eagles and about love banishing fear. What do you think?

1 comment:

Ted M. Gossard said...

I find this post particularly inspiring to me. I too wonder about myself and at my age- 53, just what I should do, and what has been left undone. It's a tough one for me. I seem to be on a fast moving vehicle in which I can't get off.

My wife Deb, would cheer your words here; I'll certainly call her attention to them.

And may God guide your way in all of this.