I’ve felt my age much more these days.
Whatever that means, right?
Well, I don’t mean physically, as in increasing aches and pains. Though recently my left knee had this constantly painful throb that only now is fading away. It made it uncomfortable to walk, especially up and down my father in law’s stairs while visiting over March break. That ache is now more or less gone, and I don’t even know entirely what caused it.
And I also don’t exactly mean feeling my age in a bad way. I’m not speaking of regret. Or disappointment. Or youthful failures. Though I’ve not lived perfectly or always made wise decisions. We’re all the sum total of our choices.
What I mean is seeing familiar memories with different eyes, like when we stopped on the way home from my father in law’s at the university where I did my undergrad almost 30 years ago. Having my teenage kids with me there—and seeing the campus again, even if briefly, through their eyes—was a moving but strange experience. Revisiting my past, I couldn’t help but think of their future.
So when I talk about feeling my age, I mean it in the sense that our kids are all teenagers now. In 6 years the last of them will likely be finishing high school (one way or another!). I mean that I have this deeply emotional awareness that our life as a family has entered a different season. I feel it in my bones. I feel it when I hear the deepening voice of one of our sons. I feel it when driving with my daughter—her behind the wheel, having recently gotten her learner’s permit. I feel it when my wife and I have conversations about the future and what it may look like. I feel it in myself, in how I have changed, in how my perspective has shifted.
As a person of faith, I’d like to say that I see God’s directing hand clearly, that how he is leading us as a family is obvious. But while I believe my Lord—my Creator and Redeemer—is always present and at work, I have had to learn to accept that often he works behind the scenes. I have to walk by faith, not by sight, confounding as this sometimes might be. I don’t really know with complete certainty what’s ahead. But I do know he leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. I know I can trust him. I know he’s there.
By feeling my age, then, I don’t mean feeling old. Older, maybe, but not old. I mean the simple awareness of the passage of time and seeing this concretely in our kids. So even if I can see as much of my life by looking back in the rear-view mirror as I can by looking ahead through the windshield, I hopefully do so with wiser eyes.