Ever since he turned 50, my father Thurlowe (pictured below), has said on his birthday, “I’m not going to complain about how old I am. Having another birthday is better than the alternative.” My dad has had a challenging year since having major back surgery before he turned 83 back in June. He’s making slow progress but still isn’t back to walking. Yet, I think he would say that birthdays are better than the alternative. Today is my birthday. It’s better than the alternative.
Today, I turn 59. Being in my 50’s has been great. A lot of fantabulous things have happened. But as I stop and think about it, today I am beginning my 60th year. Now that sounds a little uncomfortable. A whole new decade—my sixth decade. It doesn’t seem possible that I’ve already lived 707 months or 3,078 weeks, 21,546 days, 517,107 hours, or over 31 million minutes.
The World Life Expectancy website says the average Floridian lives until 79.7 years of age. In my birth state, Oregon, it’s 79.04. I must come from pretty good “long liver” stock because my four grandparents lived until 73, 90, 90 and 97. That’s an average of 87.5 years. My dad is now 83 and my mother turns 80 in a couple weeks. So, statistically, maybe I have another 20-30 years left. Maybe I’m starting my third third as Walter C. Wright suggests in his book “The Third Third of Life: Preparing for your Future.”
These four things I know well because I’ve shared them at hundreds of funerals over the last 33 years:
- We all die.
- Life is short at it’s longest.
- Some things are more important than other things.
- God cares about our lives here on earth and for eternity.
Therefore, knowing what I know, I will never forget, in whatever time I have left, we all die. None of us are guaranteed another minute, another hour, another day, another year or another decade. Therefore I will live my remaining time with intentionality and purpose—living out my mission.
As quickly as 59 years seems to have gone, I know another 20-30 potential years will go by fast. I will make sure I don’t waste my time, talent and treasure on things that don’t contribute to the mission and purpose that God has designed me for.
Aware that some things are more important than others, I will gladly say “yes” to the things that matter most and boldly say “no” to the things that are of low priority. My relationship with God, my wife, my children and their spouses, my grandchildren, my friends and my calling to inspire transformisisonal living in adults over 50 will be at the very top.
Assured that God cares about the here and now and the hereafter, I will invest in my own intimacy with God and always look for ways to point others to an intimate relationship that God eagerly offers with Himself.
How will you live your life today—with intentionality and purpose or haphazardly and unplanned?
QUESTION: What is at the top of your priority list today? I’d love to have you share it in the comment section below.
3 responses to Better Than the Alternative