There are definitely some benefits to old age: Spending effort where it really matters, enjoying time with your grandkids, seeing your children overcome challenges and become the great people you hoped they would be. There are many other benefits I will tell you about in a minute.
Sometimes though, you have to watch amazing accomplishments from the sideline. That’s true for a number of activities I have wanted to participate in during my life. I have noted below just a few of them:
Of course, at my age, my balance, strength and stamina are probably not my strong points. That’s okay. I am really glad someone made this video, however. I feel it is as close to slacklining as I will ever get. On a slackline at least a couple hundred feet above the ground is somewhere I never expect to be, but I love the idea. The thrill of slacklining is surely real.
Insane Base Jumping
I asked one of my friends to share with me his favorite video. I am not sure what I was expecting from him, really, but when I saw the video he sent me (linked above), I knew he was young at heart if not young in years. He regularly rides his Harley on long distance trips as well. He has been to Alaska, all around the United States, and has a trip planned for Yosemite in a couple weeks. I’m cool with enjoying base jumping at a distance!
My son likes to snowboard—all my children do, really. We together skied when he was a boy, and it was more me trying to keep up with him than the other way around. He would tell you otherwise, but I am still trying to keep up with him. I have always wanted to be a really great skier. But try as I might, I have never really become an expert. I am good enough, however, to ski on occasion with my family. That is fine.
Extreme Rock Climbing
It gets worse… Or should I say better? It totally depends on your perspective. I am not advocating these sports or activities. I am just saying that at my age, they are probably not on my bucket list anymore. But if I had the opportunity to try these out as a younger man, I would have done so, I think.
One time when I joined a few boys on a scout camp down near Dead Horse Point, I was invited to go skydiving by a pair of excitement-seekers. I declined. I thought, “I have a wife and six children, so this is probably not a responsible thing to do at my age with no advance training.” Maybe you agree. It is possible that you disagree. Either way, we all have to set limits on the things we will and won’t do throughout our lives.
When I was a young man, sometimes life’s opportunities presented situations where I had to face my fears. That is true for all of us; we have to overcome or at least deal with our fears. I can tell you now that many of the videos above sketch me out, and I am legitimately terrified to try them. Some people have the courage and dexterity to complete these amazing tasks; others do not.
But even if we get the opportunity, we still have to decide what we will do given the situation. Based on the above videos, you may think these situations come around only in rare circumstances and involve death-defying activities. Perhaps, but they also come about in everyday situations as well.
It is not easy to face the obstacles in our day. Many change their appearance and pose extreme makeovers as the measure of a man or a woman and their level of courage, wealth, or agility. Others stealthily persuade us to believe we are not good enough. The effects show up as low self-esteem, anxiety, or gloomy self-worth. These incorrect and deceptive beliefs limit what we think we know and what we are destined to do.
Then I saw this powerful video:
It takes place in an old building with massive windows. The sun shines through the panes of glass and casts shadows across the hardwood floor. The shimmering rays pierce through the windows and captures the beauty of the space.
You might think it strange when I tell you one of my favorite parts you may not even remember. It’s only about two seconds long. The camera pans to the floor of the room, which is scratched and uneven, not perfectly smooth and certainly not flawless. I love it. The beauty of the building was in its imperfections, uniqueness, and character.
Could that be true for us as well? I guarantee that it is.
I told you that there are some other benefits that come from age, and that I would tell you about them in a minute. I am telling you now that you are beautiful and unique just the way you are. Sure, you will have time and opportunity to change and develop and become better, but that doesn’t make your beauty less now. We come with flaws, scratches, and uneven features; we’re not perfectly smooth and flawless, not yet. But we will be if we endure to the end and let the Maker do what He does best—make us flawless.
“Our self-perceptions are generally kind of harsh and unbecoming when really that’s not how the world sees us” says one participant in the video. “We spend a lot of time as women analyzing and trying to fix the things that aren’t quite right, and we should spend more time appreciating the things that we do like.”
This is true for both men and women. We can all be pretty tough judges, but we can also change our perspectives and show appreciation for the strengths God gave us. Others can help us see that.
And we too can help others see their good features and help magnify them.
I see this more clearly every day, especially when I admire my grandchildren.
The gap between how we see ourselves and what our Father understands about us is limitless. If others can see the good in us, we should certainly take another look at ourselves.
All of us have some work to do on the perceptions of ourselves.
We are the handiwork of God.
About Walter Penning
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.