Roaring Into the ‘20s

And if by roaring, you mean watching the Valero Bowl, tucked up in my jammies drinking prosecco, then yes.

Hear me roar.

This holiday has been a weird one, for some reason. We have never felt less prepared for Christmas, thanks to too much work and not enough hours in the day, and yet, Christmas came. People survived without getting an overabundance of shiny packages to unwrap. I myself was perfectly happy to receive a set of good steak knives and a box of chocolates, which is sure sign I’m approaching fifty.

I was born in 1970, so landmark birthdays always line up with the turn of another decade. Reflecting back on 2010-2019, it was the decade of my son, my youngest child. His birth, and all the milestones that go along with childhood, school, sports. And now the transitional phase of closing out elementary school and the impending fate of middle school.

Personally, it hasn’t always been easy. Having a baby a month shy of forty put me in a different classification, different generation, at times, than the other parents in his grade. It’s hard being one of the oldest, but it’s also a blessing to have been through these phases before with an older child, which provides a softer perspective than I had the first time around with my daughter. 

As I approach fifty, this past decade has also been defined by attending more funerals than weddings. Just this week, at the service for a woman who was my age, I couldn’t shake the disbelief that the slide show flashing vibrant snapshots from a half-century well-lived wasn’t for her fiftieth birthday blowout, but in a sad twist of fate, for her funeral.

Guests remarked on several admirable traits of this woman. She always had a smile on her face. She was never in too much of a hurry to stop and talk to you. She was devoted to her family and friends. She had a true heart for worshipping Jesus.

What would be said of me if it were my tired bones laid out in the casket at the front of the chapel?

Do I always have a smile on my face? Or am I stuck in a perpetual state of anxious discontent at what has not been crossed off my to do list?

Do I always make time to stop and chat if I see an acquaintance in the grocery store? Or do I duck down the frozen food aisle because I’m in a hurry and have *work* to do back at my desk?

I can most certainly check the box next to devoted to family and friends, but how well do I show this?

Do I truly have a heart for God, or do I only turn up the worship dial on Sunday mornings from 9:45 am to 10:45 am?

What kind of a legacy am I building, will I leave behind if I should die tomorrow, hit by a bus or hunched over the computer working on a spreadsheet?

I’m pondering this tonight on New Year’s Eve as I celebrate in a decidedly mellow fashion.

My teenager is looking forward to ringing in the new year/decade with friends tonight, and when I was her age, I did the same. We danced around to the MTV New Year’s Eve countdown, flipping over to Casey Kasem during commercials or when a band we didn’t like came on. We drank mock champagne until we were old enough to sneak a taste of the real thing. We made hollow resolutions like, “take better care of my hair” and “try a new nail polish color.” Oh, to be young.

I don’t make resolutions anymore, just intentions. I intend to smile more. I intend to slow down and spend more time visiting with people I encounter in my daily travels around town. I intend to continue to love my family with deliberately less grouchiness and impatience. I intend to worship God each and every day, in the sunset, the bloom on the azalea bush, and my children’s smiles (if I can get one from the teenager).

Maybe you are like me and have some intentions you’re going to work on in the new year and coming decade. When we close out the next one, I’ll be staring down sixty, my daughter will be twenty-five, and my baby will be nineteen. I will be an empty nester. Life seems to be set on fast-forward.

But the best part of getting older is giving yourself permission to appreciate all you have endured and survived, the strength and discernment gained, and the blessings received. All while having the wisdom to look ahead to the next chapter, anticipate what the path might look like, yet embrace the unexpected.

The way things have been going, this wild ride is definitely going to take us roaring in the ‘20s, whether we like it or not.

At least we can wear our jammies if we want.

Me in my jammies with my fav gift ever.


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