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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Woman of a Certain Age

Over fifty.

I used to think that was really old. Over half a century!

Now, that phrase describes me. I’ve noticed a shift in how people treat me.

For instance, when I was young, the police would stop me and search my car. This happened often. It got to be something we pretty much expected. Now, when police see one or two gray-haired people in the car, they wave us on. We’ve still been pulled over from time to time, but I don’t think anyone has looked in the trunk since I was forty-five.

When I was younger, sometimes, strange men would try to get friendly. No more! I mean, who wants to flirt with a grandma? I think it’s rather funny.

Women treat me differently, too. Of course, a lot of my friends are getting up to these heights as well. Instead of, “Let’s take a walk,” I get, “Do you feel like walking today?”

I notice I treat myself differently as well. I use an anti-wrinkle cream daily, hoping for a miracle. I work for a while on my feet and then sit for a while, alternating, so I can accomplish what needs to be done.

I love how the French talk about women who are older. Instead of using the very blunt term “old,” they say une femme d’un certain age, a woman of a certain age. (You can bet she’s over forty, but she’ll never tell how far . . . and neither will I!)

Age is a strange thing, especially for women. Oh yes, there are a few ladies that are athletic, strong, and terrific at seventy. The old clich├ęs are being upped and upped and upped. I’ve even heard “seventy is the new sixty.” (I doubt it, but hey . . . . )

I’ve always admired a woman who grows old gracefully. At forty, she’s not wearing dresses above her knees and trying to look like a teenager. She knows who she is, and she carries it off with class. At fifty, the same lady looks wonderful, but she’s not trying to be something she isn’t. By my age, she may have a grandchild or two, but she has no hang-ups about gray hair or being a grandmother. She is what she is. She’s not going sleeveless any more. (She discretely covers what gravity has rearranged for her.) She’s okay with slowing down and with her empty nest. (After all, it gives her extra face-time with her husband.) She doesn’t balk at a wrinkle or arthritis or minor memory issues. She understands they’re all part of living long enough to have more experience behind than ahead.

A Christian lady of a certain age is a woman who is blessed. The Bible always indicates that God is the Giver of life. In several different contexts, long life is a reward for those who do right. (Exodus 20:12; Psalm 91:16; Proverbs 3:1-2) God even loves white hair! (Proverbs 16:31)

Being older changes one’s perspective. For me, I was closing in on fifty when it became real that my days on earth are limited and I’d best get going on my legacy.

Here are some ideas for “legacies” that we women of a certain age might consider:
  • Scrapbook all the kids’ growing up—digitally or with real pages. Help them keep their own childhood memories. Show them visually why you’re glad to be their mother.
  • Mentor younger women (Titus 2:3-5).
  • Write your memoir. Tell how you came to faith in Jesus, all about your family (including genealogy), the good times, the bad times, and how God helped you overcome. Be open and real. Express yourself the way you talk.
  • Volunteer. You can make a real difference in lives. Suggestions: your church, pregnancy centers, homes for retired people, fund-raising for Christian causes, schools, missionary support. (I’m sure you’ve already thought of something else!)
  • Collect what you want your kids to see (drawings, poems, keepsakes, pictures, etc.) in a place where they can easily access them. File, box, label—whatever it takes to organize the important things. That way, when the kids come to grandma’s house, you can find what you want to show and tell about. You might also start giving your children the special things you want them to have.
  • Write that book you were always going to write.
  • Get even more serious about Bible study. You have more time now, and you can really dig for treasure. Get to know God in a more intimate way. (Job 28:12-28)
  • Teach. (You don’t have all that life experience for nothing!)
  • Be a wonderful grandmother. Invest time and energy into your children’s children. If you live close to them, read stories, bake cookies, and hug. If you live far away, give meaningful, age-appropriate gifts, and when you can be with them, be lovable, joyful, and take lots of pictures! 

It’s also good to be prepared for death.

1. The most important preparation is spiritual
  • Do you know Jesus as your personal Savior? The Bible puts it simply. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life (1 John 5:12). Do you have the Son?

2. The second aspect is practical.
  • Let your family know your thoughts about life support and other medical-ethical issues. Help them understand your preferences. (You can make a “living will” free of charge.)
  • Bring your will up to date. Also, if you want Susie to get your prized turkey platter and Johnny to get his dad’s jigsaw, write those things down. It will give you peace of mind and will keep your children from having to make those decisions once you’re gone.
  • Plan funeral and burial arrangements. When the time comes, it will take a weight off for grieving relatives. (You can further help them by writing down your favorite hymns, Bible verses, poems, etc. and what you would like to see in your bio.)
  • Make sure your executor and your children know where to find important papers and information, both in your house and on your computer.
  • Declutter your house and garage. Get rid of the things you don’t need. Give useful items to charity, recycle the trash, and simplify your living space. Pack up knick-knacks in boxes, if you can’t bring yourself to get rid of them. File papers. Organize. (You may live another forty years after you’re done, and your house will be more pleasant and easier to clean! Enjoy!) 

Live your days to the fullest.

Glorify God in everything you say and do.

I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart:
and I will glorify thy name for evermore.
(Psalm 86:12)


  1. I really enjoyed this post. Thanks Lou Ann. You have so much wisdom...but after all, you are une femme d'un certain age. Praise God.

    1. What a hoot! Oh yes, I'm one of those! :o)

  2. It's been rather daunting to approach that age when (if one lives to the usual life expectancy) there are more years behind than before, but it has its perks, too. Great advice.

    1. I like the word "perks." :o) There are definitely a few. :o) Thanks for your comment, Barbara. God bless you as you join me in the "certain age" group. :o)


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