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It All Adds Up to 80!!!

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There’s great news and bad news for me today – I turn 80 years old today!  The good news is that I have made it this far in life. The bad news is – I’ve got the aches and pains and medical issues that go along with being 80 years old. Though I feel I am in pretty good health, I know I only have a limited amount of time still ahead of me here on planet earth.

I do have a few silly thoughts to share with you as I hit this milestone in my life…..

I don’t feel old, in fact, I don’t feel anything until Noon, and that’s when it’s time for my nap.

But I know I’m hitting 80 when everything hurts, and what doesn’t hurt, doesn’t work. 

I feel I can live to be 100, if I give up all the things that make me want to live to be 100. 

When someone says that I’m elderly or old, I tell them I’m “chronically gifted!”

Now that I’ve reached 80, there’s not much left for me to learn from the School of Hard Knocks.  

At 80, I pretty much feel that I know almost everything…..But I have a hard time remembering it. 

My prayers have changed and advanced the last few years…..I used to pray: “Remember, Lord, only the good die young.” But now I pray: “Dear Lord, grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked, the good fortune to still run into the people I do like, and the eyesight to the tell the difference!”

Someone told me I look like 40, most of the time I feel like 22, and I know I act like I’m 18. 

Add it all up and I’m 80 today!!

On a more serious note, whenever I have conversations with family members and friends who are my age, most of our time together is devoted to talking about our health issues. I’m fully aware that we want to share our aches and pains with one another and find a caring and a listening ear. But our months and years here on earth are coming to the last chapter. 

Why don’t we ever spend quality time together talking about what we think our lives will be like in 5, 10 or 20 years when our souls have left our bodies? Eternity will last a long, long, long time. Why don’t people want to talk about it with some regularity? We all know eternity is coming. Is eternity too much connected with death and dying? Is it too much of a mystery – the unknown of which we are afraid to talk about?

I have a very long list of questions. Here are but a few of them —

Will our souls live eternally huddled in our “tribes” like we do on earth? Will all the races and nationalities along with family and friends be huddled together like here on earth? Will people cling to other souls by virtue of their political parties and religious affiliations? 

We won’t have our bodies, so we won’t experience what others physically look like. With our death, we will reveal our souls to everyone else. They will be able to discover what God has known all along – WHO WE REALLY ARE, without our clothes, our homes, cars, jobs and smart phones. All those things we live for in this world will be gone for all eternity.  

When I’m a pure spirit and that’s all I have and that’s all anyone will ever experience, what happens to all my prejudices, biases and judgements that make up so much of who I am and how I’ve lived my earthly life? Will my death eliminate or erase all of these? Or will I have to go through some kind of a purification process (purgatory) before I can interact with God and other souls? 

Will I finally “see the light” when I die and go through that long, dark tunnel? Will “seeing the light” be a whole lot more than experiencing the Beatific Vision – God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit? My faith tells me that God the Father is my Creator, Jesus is my Savior, and the Holy Spirit is the One who has inspired me throughout my life. But through my death, can God change WHO I AM and WHO I’VE BECOME over these 80 years? What of me and of my personality and uniqueness do I take with me into eternity?

Will I “see the light” and fully realize how all the good things I did in my life made a real difference, not just for my family, friends, and the people I served, but for the Family of the World, of which I was a unique and special member? Will I experience and be filled with joy to encounter every human soul, going all the way back to Adam and Eve? What will it be like for me sharing who I am and all of my experiences with billions and billions of souls? Will I “see the light” and realize the pain that my sins have caused to some souls or many of the souls around me who I never noticed were hurting on earth?

We talk about how we will spend our eternity with God and with Jesus and be overcome with joy by being with them. We so much look forward to being filled with unending joy by being with family members and friends. But what will the life of our souls be like without our bodies, our possessions and our smart phones? We’re so used to nurturing our bodies, acquiring and enjoying possessions. You and I will be entering a world without our bodies and without a single material thing we had in this world. It’s sobering and frightening to consider. I sincerely trust that the Lord is all I will want or will need in eternity. 

Friends, I could go on and on with my questions and my musings on my 80th, but I’m going to a nice dinner with a few friends and I’ve got a lot of candles to blow out. Today I keep reflecting on the words of St. Paul: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived  — the things God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9). 

Thank you for loving me and praying for me all these 80 years. I feel truly blessed and loved. I hope and pray that what lies ahead for you and me in eternity will be far greater than anything we could ever imagine. We should reflect on eternity often and even talk about it every now and then. 

I do believe that I will live for all eternity…..I just don’t know my address yet!! 

Thanks to Lan Gao for the picture.

IN MANY WAYS, AGING WELL IS ABOUT LEARNING TO LET GO OF EARTHLY THINGS AND CLINGING TO GOD ALONE!!

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