Age is just a number… or is it?


Recently, one of our granddaughters reached the magical age of 16 and was applying for her driver’s license.
When I learned of that, it brought back so many memories of my own. I remember when I turned 16 and was going for my driver’s license. What a day that was.
I can’t remember how long ago that was. I don’t have a calendar in front of me.
The time leading up to my 16th birthday was exciting because I couldn’t wait to turn 16 and get behind the wheel. That was the great goal of my life as a teenager. At 16, my life would change, and it did.
When I reached 16, my next goal was 21 because I would be an official adult, and my parents couldn’t tell me what to do.
I’m not sure what happened, but I never really became the official adult I dreamed about. I just became older.
Some people attach great significance to age. I remember my grandfather saying, “Son, age is just a number. Don’t you worry about it.”
Grandfathers can’t be wrong, or can they?
It’s been hard keeping up with my age because it changes every year. Why does my birthday have to come so often? There was a time when I couldn’t wait for my birthday. It was like it took five years for my birthday to come.
Now, my birthday comes every other month. How old am I really? Honestly, I don’t want to know.
Several years ago, The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I celebrated birthdays at a restaurant. Her birthday is two days after mine.
As we ate our birthday dinner, she looked at me and said, “So, my dear, how does old feel?”
Without even thinking, which is my MO, I reached across the table, grabbed her arm, started squeezing it, and said, “It feels rather nice.”
Well, there went my birthday present.
One day this past week, I was searching through my library for a book I wanted to read. As I was searching, I found my high school yearbook. I don’t remember the last time I saw that book.
I pulled it out, took it to my seat, sat down and started looking through that album. I saw things I had long ago forgotten about.
As I looked at the photographs, I remembered some of my friends from way back then and wondered how they might look today.
Then, I came across a name I recognized: James Snyder. I recognized the name, but I did not recognize the picture. Who was that person there using my name?
I stared at that picture for a while and did not remember anything. There it was, a young boy with lots of hair and rather skinny. I was tempted to go to the mirror and check out what I looked like today, but then I declined. Why ruin a good thing?
When my grandfather said that age is just a matter of numbers, I was beginning to think he was way off his rocker. What I looked like in 1969 when I graduated high school is far from what I look today.
I tried to remember back in those days, and some things came to me. I had a lot of fun playing baseball at school, and I did a lot of things that I wouldn’t have the energy to do today.
One of the things I remember was how hard it was to go to sleep at night. My parents had a curfew at 10 o’clock at night, which is when we were supposed to be in bed sound asleep. I remember those times and how hard it was to sleep at 10 o’clock at night.
Now, right after supper, I look at The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and say, “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”
She will laugh and nod her head. One of the things that we try to find an excuse to go to bed early, like right after supper.
I couldn’t keep up with all the activities I did back then. Nowadays, when I get up in the morning, I walk to the living room and sit down, I need to rest for a moment because of all that activity. It doesn’t take very much to get me tired.
Thinking about this the other day, I wondered what my life would be like if I had the energy today that I had 50 years ago. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that if I had that kind of energy today, I probably would be getting into trouble.
What I fail to remember about those days of endless energy is that it always got me into some kind of trouble.
Now that I’m old, I don’t have the energy to get into trouble. When you think of it, that’s a good thing. Getting old isn’t as bad as I once thought.
As I pondered this I was reminded of what good, old Solomon said. “Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this” (Ecclesiastes 7:10).
I may have some good things in my past, but my best day is today. I don’t have any guarantee for tomorrow. All I can be sure of is today, so I need to make today the best day of my life.

Dr. James L. Snyder lives in Ocala, FL with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Telephone 1-352-216-3025, e-mail, website