Why Getting Old Is Awesome

Getting OlderThe other day, I looked in the mirror and saw these weird lines next to my eyes…..I think they’re called wrinkles or something.  Apparently they’ve been there for a while.  Thanks wifey for pointing that out 😉

Something that we all have in common is this:  WE ARE ALL GETTING OLDER!

At the ripe age of 35, I’m constantly being reminded of how old I’m getting.  My knees, back, neck and feet hurt randomly, my energy isn’t what it used to be, I have a grey spot on the side of my head, my metabolism is slower, the list could go on…..that’s just part of life I guess.

The temptation is to be depressed about these changes…totally an easy thing to do.  Lately though, I’ve been really trying to change my focus.  I’m learning to be grateful for every sign of aging that I’ve seen vs. pouting because the inevitable is happening.

Getting older isn’t just about physical changes.  The years have brought some good things like wisdom, knowledge, experiences and blessings.  They’ve also brought challenges, obstacles, failures and loss.  All of which have grown my character and life-outlook.  It’s an evolving process for sure and it takes an intentional effort to see the good.  We need intentionality because there’s a steady battle raging….

Culture is constantly telling us that getting older is a bad thing…..lift, tuck, cover, diet, anti-wrinkle stuff, anti-aging pills, anti-whatever….all these things are meant to delay the inevitable truth that we can’t turn back time!  Why not embrace our changes?  Why not use the wisdom that we’ve gained to make a difference in other’s lives?  It really is all about perspective.

As I take inventory of my aging self, I’m feeling more grateful than anything else.  Every grey hair means that I’ve been blessed with seconds, minutes, hours, days and years to live.  I am so lucky to have survived this long and experienced what I’ve experienced.  There are many folks who haven’t made it this far due to a variety of reasons.  The straight up truth is that we’re not entitled to a single second.  God’s the only one in control.

This brings me to my last and most important piece of encouragement that I’ve held on to: I know that each day brings me closer to meeting Jesus face to face.  There’s hope in that.  Without my faith, the temptation to give in to mediocrity, fear and shallowness would be too great….I would eventually settle or crumble.  I’m sure of that.  Jesus is my beginning and Jesus is my end.  I’m so grateful that He’s my end!

I totally understand that this way of thinking is challenging and unpopular….you know, the whole “be thankful for your sagginess” thing and the “I’m one step closer to meeting Jesus” thing.  I get that.

We all absolutely have the choice of how to handle life’s cycle.  My hope is that we handle things with joy and dignity and anticipation,

Let’s not let age depress us.  Let’s not let age suppress us.  Let’s not let age define us.  For we are blessed to be in our skin, no matter the color or texture or feel….it’s ours after all and it’s gifted to us by a loving Creator.

Let it all hang out!  Be Free!  Wait…..not like that.  Ok, just be happy with who you are.  That’s better.

God Bless,

Paul

 

How My Haircut Changed My Life

confidence-activities-superman1-optGrowing up, I was really insecure.  When I say insecure, I mean insecure….like really scared about what other people thought….actually I was just really scared of people in general.  People knew I wasn’t confident and they used it against me in the form of bullying.  It sucked.

Eventually, the bullying went away around my junior high years as I got bigger and stronger.  Unfortunately, the lack of confidence held on like potent garlic breath…..I just couldn’t shake it…..until one simple, yet profound thing happened around the age of 16.

I GOT MY NEW HAIRCUT!!!

You see, I had a bowl cut.  It was pretty long up top, shaved on the sides and I had a butt crack part right down the center.  Me and my bowl cut had a relationship for many years….but it had to end.

So one fateful, yet victorious day, I went to Great Clips and got a “George Clooney Caesar Cut” as they called it.  You know, a “normal” haircut.  Shorter, tight, faded and dead sexy.  Oh yes.

This was a big step for me and believe it or not, this haircut changed my life.  Sounds dramatic, but it’s true.  I was suddenly “normal” and I felt confident.  I began making new friends, walking around the school halls with my chest puffed with teenage pride!  I had hit my stride.

Although this was great news for my confidence and social life, I look back and become a little sad.

It’s unfortunate that I couldn’t have been more comfortable with myself before this new change.  I always tried so hard to fit in, to blend with the crowd, to be just like everybody else.  Being different seemed too risky…..it got me nowhere when I was younger…it just led to me getting picked on all the time.  So I clung to my new caesar-cut-life-raft as it saved me from the grips of individuality.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with gaining confidence.  We’ve all had pivotal times in our lives where we’ve changed for the better.  It’s just that, for me, I know where my heart was before I began to grow.  I remember being nauseous as I looked at myself in the mirror.  I remember feeling scared of someone else throwing gum in my hair or knocking me into the sticker bushes.  I remember wearing cover-up on my zits because I was too ashamed to just be a teenager with acne.  I remember a lot of the shallow worries that I struggled with growing up.  Sometimes, it seems like a waste of a lot of years.  Really though, it’s just another part of my story….one that I’m grateful for.

Although the back-story is a little negative, God completely used my confidence as a tool to mold me.  As I grew up, I developed my faith in Jesus.  I entered college where I grew in so many ways and made so many more great friends.  I entered the workforce and learned how to face the daily grind.  I met the woman of my dreams and have been blessed with 2 beautiful sons.  He has guided and provided.

God has a beautiful way of taking even the lowest of times and creating beauty from them.  We’re all who we are today because of where we’ve been.  For me, God used my haircut as lighter fluid to get me heading in the direction that He desired for me.  The cool part is that He didn’t let me forget where I came from and the obstacles that I faced before life started coming together.  Awesome.

So, BE YOU and rediscover your own “haircut moment.”  When you do, don’t forget the journey that guided you there.  God has a funny way of turning the simplest of things into the most profound, earth-shattering revelations.  I pray that you would find your own quirky revelation.  One that’s unique to YOUR story!

God Bless,

Paul

 

 

 

My Talk With The Gas Station Guy

imageHave you ever had one of those unexpected conversations that leave you breathless?  Maybe touched?  Maybe sad?

I’ve had a few of them and the most recent occurred about a couple of weeks ago.

I was at the gas station, filling up before work that day.  The attendant was a familiar face and we have often chatted about guy stuff like trucks and wheels and other pass-the-time stuff.  Nothing too deep.

He seemed as though he was getting thinner over the last couple of years…..my judgment led me to think it was probably drugs or something….OH HOW EASY IT IS TO JUDGE PEOPLE THAT WE DON’T EVEN KNOW!

Come to find out, he’s been battling some form of kidney disease and it’s led to him losing like 150 lbs. in the last year or two.  He explained that it just kind of happened, that a lot of blood has been drawn and that they’re still trying to figure things out.  He said it would kill him eventually.  To twist my heart even more, he added that he’s ready to die, to go home to heaven.  When I asked “why,” he mentioned that his 2 year old daughter died in his arms about 30 years ago….she was involved in a horrible car accident.  He missed her very much and he wanted to hold his daughter again.  Man, what do you say to someone……there’s really nothing magical to offer during those moments.  The only things that I could provide were 2 listening ears and prayers to a God who is bigger than even this traumatic, horrible story.

I left the gas station with a heavy heart for this guy, for his daughter and for his family…..

God sometimes uses other’s tragedies to speak to us, doesn’t He?!   Like a wake-up call, we’re suddenly jolted from our own selfish worry-filled lives and our perspective tightens and focuses on very real, important things…..such as life, death, health, family, priorities, faith, etc.  In this case, I was reminded that our human bodies are so stinking fragile!  My friend’s condition could happen to any of us.  We’re not invincible and that’s humbling.

Another important lesson pushed it’s way to the surface….being emotionally present and available for other people is SO imperative to being a human being!  Even if that desperate, hurting person is a stranger or acquaintance or somebody of “lower status.”  It doesn’t matter.  God has called us to be loving, to place other’s needs before our own.  To listen.

Being present and available doesn’t mean that we need all the answers or solutions.  We just need to truly sympathize, that’s it!  We need to let our hearts break for others, even if it’s uncomfortable.  God takes care of the rest.  He has a way of radiating love through us…..we just need to be there.  To be open.

There are folks hurting all around us.  It’s easy to miss God’s open doors to be  an encouragement or a shoulder to cry on.  Please join me in seeking those moments and opportunities….to being open to them.  I’m slowly discovering that this is what being alive is truly about.

God Bless,

Paul

 

Why Happy Hour Is Important

Happy HourMy wife and I started a new thing a few months ago.  After work, when I get home, my wife and I enjoy a small chunk of time together….we’ve named it our “happy hour.”

Typically, happy hour consists of her and I sitting in the kitchen on bar stools, beverage in hand while the boys are in the other room entertaining themselves.  If interrupted, we “encourage” the rug rats to leave us alone, explaining that it’s mom and dad time.  Works pretty well!

We take this time to catch up, talk about the day and just be together.  Like a mini date.  It’s been awesome.

Let’s face it, we all need a break sometimes.  The daily routines that we each face can become so boring, habitual and lackluster to say the least.

Having this little time set aside each day has given us both something to look forward to…..a common platform to stand on together.  A break from the craziness!

Realistically though, time doesn’t always allow our golden time to happen.  Schedules and things get in the way and that’s ok…such is life!  We give it our best shot nonetheless.

Here’s the truth: if my wife and I aren’t in-sync and rested, our family dynamic just becomes good, not best.  That’s just how it goes!

So how can you and your spouse take time to chill today?  I bet if you try really hard, you can find a few minutes to sit, look into each other’s eyes and ask “how the heck are ya?”  There’s always time to be busy……ALWAYS!  There’s only a short amount of time to take a sec and enjoy some nice moments with the one you love…..so do that!

Here’s to happy hour!!!!!

God Bless,

Paul