A GIFT FROM MATURITY by J. Hale Turner

When I typed the above title, I had no clue where this blog was going.  As soon as I was about to  compose my thoughts, those  words flew out the window.  Total blank! Not once but twice … blank!  Where did my wonderful words go?  What just happened?   You may say a senior moment, but I prefer maturity.

A little over a year ago, I had the privilege of attending an annual book festival in Wadesboro, NC.   It had been a while since I attended, and with the company of a dear friend, I managed to be present.  It was so good to see everyone.  Quite a few of the writers who were once newbies grew into becoming seasoned writers and successful in their art.  I felt so proud for them.

I was honored when invited by a board member to attend their meeting to advocate literacy in their community.  I welcomed the offer, but my body felt so hindered.  Despite my enthusiasm, I felt everything go into slow motion.   A few days later I was fighting for my life with acute renal failure.

With excellent hospital care, I was later released without the need for dialysis, but stayed on a hydration regimen ever since. I realized that during my recuperation I lost sight of self-preservation – too busy caring for others and things, and ignoring myself.  I was too consumed and didn’t have sense to realize it.  This wake-up call was my shot in the arm.  With determination, rest, eating and obeying the doctor’s orders, I was given a renewed lease to start fresh.

Importantly, I found a good doctor, and was uplifted by dear friends and family.  I can’t imagine what my life would be like without them. It was they who offered their loving/professional advice to stay strong and well.  I just happened to wait too long, ignoring loving counsel.  Now I know better and learned how to pace myself and activities.

Many of us are approaching ages between 40 and 65.   It may sound like a big gap in years, but we must be realistic about time — it flies.  No need to get depressed.  Let’s get real.  You are about to experience an important new phase in life.  Maturity.

If you haven’t done so already, it’s also  time to plan and budget wisely.  Notice, I said budget, not deprive.  When working hard, it is good to be happy and treat yourself and family.  Just avoid going overboard and regretting later.  Cherish that special moment with loved ones in your life.

As we mature, we become wiser with our choice of friends, too.  Good friends keep each other focus and alive.  Everyone is prone to crises – even the most crucial.  Good friends give us our space, but their loving support helps us not to stay too far down and secluded for too long.  Good friends and family make us emotionally and spiritually strong.   I treasure my connection so much.

Yes, we’re all getting older.  Yes, we feel more stiff (or achy) when we sit down and when we get up; and, yes, we have more forgetful moments than usual.  Alas, such is life.  Being realistic and pacing ourselves with our new-found limitations, followed by discovering and treasuring delightful moments, should be an encouraging and thankful opportunity. “There’s an appointed time for everything, a time for every activity under the heavens.” (Eccl. 3:1 NWT)

Our worries will appear endless — if we allow them.  Successfully eliminating/solving at least one challenging issue is an accomplishment, and it eases our mind of one less concern. Enjoy the positive moment and not drain precious energy with tomorrow’s anxieties.  (Matt 6:33 NWT)   And good friends are a godsend to keep us and each other hopeful.

The rewarding part from our years of experience is that we have acquired wisdom to offer our younger generation.  True, some may not want to hear or talk about it, but should that small seed planted on fertile soil be heard, it will make an impact on their moment of recollection as they near their future.  What a lasting gift to offer.

We, the mature ones, deserve everyday a sense of accomplishment, an inner peace and confidence to inspire others. I warned you that I was clueless where the theme was taking me, but in all seriousness those “lost” words found their way back home.  I really wanted to share a moment of my learning experience and smiles with all of you.   Maturity is truly a fulfilling gift.

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