Me, Myself, and My Tomorrows -- By: Howard G. Hendricks

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 157:627 (Jul 2000)
Article: Me, Myself, and My Tomorrows
Author: Howard G. Hendricks

Me, Myself, and My Tomorrowsa

Howard G. Hendricksb

Czech philosopher and martyr Viteslav Gardavsky wrote, “The terrible threat against life is not death, nor pain, nor any variation on the disasters that we obsessively try to protect ourselves against with our social systems and personal stratagems. The terrible threat is ‘that we might die earlier than we really do die,’ before death has become a natural necessity. The real horror lies in just such a premature death, a death after which we go on living for many years.”1

Somewhere between age forty and fifty-five people begin to realize that the years they have already lived are undoubtedly more than the years that lie ahead. They tend to reflect on what life for them has been all about. They take a life inventory on what has had a positive or negative effect on their own growth and the growth of others. They decide, sometimes quite subconsciously, what to correct, adjust, or eliminate. Fred Smith wrote, “In middle life you don’t want to make a junk yard out of your old age.”2

Americans, however, need a word of caution. Our youth-oriented nation likes what is young; we avoid whatever smacks of decline or decrepitude. Gerontophobia—cringing at the thought of physical and mental impotence—has permeated our culture. Solomon’s warning echoes menacingly, “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth” (Eccles. 12:1). Focusing on our Creator adds a new dimension to life. We do not grow old with age; we age be-

cause we are not growing.

To begin, we must blast before we build, erase before we establish the essentials of personal later life management. A fistful of myths about old age need to be stifled. A myth is an oft-repeated belief that has no factual basis, but is generally accepted as true. Here are five such myths.

First, that the closing years of life will inevitably be less enjoyable and stimulating than earlier years.

Second, that old age is a disease, synonymous with disability and ill health.

Third, that the ability to change or to absorb new ideas or learn new skills necessarily diminishes with age.

Fourth, that new relationships are difficult or even impossible to form and maintain in old age.

Fifth, that if you live long enough, you will be senile.

Each one of these is w...

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