Last year I ran into some former students from the school where I did my first year as high school chaplain.
While we were excited to see each other, I was in for an awakening when the second sentence out of one of their mouth’s was:
“Sir… you got old.”
I laughed and told her the next time I run into her, I’ll be sure to lead with that comment. She felt a bit sheepish for saying it, but I can also understand that when you have an image of a person in your head and you don’t see them for a while – it’s difficult to see the change.
However, her comment had me thinking about the work that I do. Maybe I did get old.
I approached my work with young people with a young energy and focused on putting a youthful vibe first. As the years carried on and I matured in my work (debatable to what degree that happened), I realized I was trying to force that maturity onto an audience that wasn’t ready for it.
I got old in my approach and my way of thinking.
The natural consequence of age is to become a more self-reflective (or bitter) person. Also, your body really starts to hate you for mistreating it in any way.
While you will certainly bring that wisdom with you in whatever you do, there’s no reason to get old with life. All it takes is observing two people who are the same physical age, but who approach life in different ways.
It just takes a few moments, but you will know who kept their youthful energy. You can see it and feel it.
So maybe that student was right and I did get old. Looking forward, there’s no reason to get any older.