When I’m Eighty…

This is a picture of my grandmother. Looks awfully young to be a grandmother, doesn’t she? Well, she would have been had this been a recent picture and not one from the forties. Mamo is turning eighty on Christmas Day, and seeing as how that’s a pretty big birthday, my mother and my aunt have been making plans to put together a book of pictures from her life and present it to her as a gift. Right about now, my mother is reading this and freaking out because I’m letting the secret out of the bag on the great world wide web. But since my grandmother is still unaware that the internet even exists and since none of you have her on speed dial, I’m pretty sure the secret is still safe.

Anyway, part of my weekend post-conference (last weekend, that is) was spent meeting up with all of the women on my mom’s side of the family, trying to decide how many pictures we’re going to put in this book, what pictures we’re going to put in this book, what captions we’re going to put in this book, and who is going to end up pulling her hair out over this book. Seeing as how my mother and I are the only two ladies of leisure in the group (ha!), we volunteered to do the preliminary work. And so we have been. And so I’ve been spending more time on Snapfish these days than ever before. I’m actually on a break from that task right now! You would never believe how many pictures can accumulate over eighty years. Imagine one woman’s stash of pictures over eighty years. Now, add to that the stashes of three children, seven grandchildren, and twelve great grandchildren. And your eightysomething year old boyfriend. (Who would probably better be called a “manfriend,” don’t you think?) That’s a LOT of pictures.

So, we have our work cut out for us. And maybe I’ve spent too much time looking through pictures and switching around layouts, but it’s made me think about what I want to be true of myself when I’m eighty. What I HOPE will be true of me when I’m eighty.

When I’m eighty…

1) I’ll be thankful to still be alive. (For real, y’all. How many of us will honestly make it to eighty?)

2) I’ll be eighty. (None of this trying to wish or act like I’m still twenty. I want to be my age at EVERY age!)

3) I’ll be sweet and kind. (Wes says if you were sweet and kind in your thirties, you’ll be exponentially more sweet and kind in your eighties. And if you were a bitter, critical old hag in your thirties, well… I better get to work on losing my hag-like qualities because they’re only going to get worse with age!)

4) I’ll invest in others. (I want to take Titus 2 seriously, even at eighty, looking for opportunities to walk alongside younger women and learn together.)

5) I won’t expect my children, my grandchildren, or my great grandchildren to be my life. (We hardly see my grandmother, thanks to her busy social schedule, so I know she’s done this one well.)

6) I won’t stop attempting big things for God’s glory. (Did you know that Kay Arthur is almost seventy-seven years old? Incredible.)

7) I’ll still be running three miles a day with Charlie. (Not sure what’s more amazing about this — an eighty year old me running or a forty-nine year old German Shepherd. Maybe he’ll have calmed down by then.)

8) I’ll still spend time studying God’s Word. (And will still be learning new things about who He is!)

9) I’ll be generous with my time and my money. (I’m always so touched when some of our most senior church members ask me if they can give money so our students can go to youth camp for free. And I’m even more touched when some of these same seniors are intentional about spending time with our students!)

10) I’ll remember that I’m never too old to be used by God. And I’ll be WILLING to do whatever He calls me to do. (My roommate during my journeyman training was a seventy year old retired nurse who was going to South Africa to work with AIDS patients. She just left her peach orchard in Georgia to her son, hopped a plane to Johannesburg, and that was that. Amazing!)

How about you? Who do you want to be when you’re eighty?

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