The Beauty of Growing Older

August 26, 2011 | 24 comments

Someone once said that you can’t hide your true colors as you approach the autumn of your life.

And I think it’s true. The older I get, the more I want to be me. 
No false pretenses or fancy facades.

Just. Me.

God-made, but imperfect.
Broken, but made whole through Christ.

No masks. No falsehoods. No pretending. Just … real. I want to bloom right where I’m planted, like a sunny petal against the cerulean sky — with enough gaps so that God’s light can shine through.  

I want to feel more comfortable in my own skin,
stand for who I am,
and who God made me to be — wrinkles and all.

I want to live free.

I’m 39 years old. (Which I used to think sounded old.) I’m nearly 40. (Which they say is over the hill.) On the downside of a hill, there’s no slowing down. Maybe that means we can pick up a bit of steam for the marvelously wild journey home, and who doesn’t love the way it feels with the wind blowing back our hair?

When I was 22, I would have thought a 40-year-old me  had one foot in the grave. But maybe we could see it as having one foot in Heaven instead? 

And while I’m still here — for how many ever days He sees fit — I want to bloom for my Maker. And I want my life to do more and more of this one thing: magnify His great name.

I want to live my life seeking
God’s plans
on God’s earth
for God’s glory and
God’s great name.

 Linking up again with Gypsy Mama for her five-minute Friday. She asks us to write for five minutes flat, without worrying about how it looks or sounds. (I confess. I spellcheck!) This is an invigorating exercise for a writer, and I encourage you to try. In fact, I shared this exercise with my college writing students this week when one of them asked for a cure to writers’ block. Care to join us over at Gypsy Mama’s place?

by | August 26, 2011 | 24 comments


    • dukeslee

      Thank you. Glad you dropped by. 🙂

  1. Beth

    I almost 37 and am LOVING it. Ask me how I feel in ten years:)! This was a very beautiful glimpse at aging, thank you!

    • dukeslee

      I hear you, Beth.

      A quote from Madeleine L’Engle: “The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.”

      So that means we’ll still be 37 and 27 and even 17 when we’re 47, right? 🙂

  2. Megan Willome

    “One foot in Heaven”–I like that.

    I was at a funeral this week for a friend of my mom’s who died suddenly of a massive heart attack. They’re saying that before she hit the ground, my mom had her hand, to lead her to Heaven.

    • dukeslee

      Oh Megan … The image you share buckles me at the knees. Such beauty …

    • Deidra

      Megan – Girl, you are amazing. You know that, right?

  3. Julie

    Love this. We are the same age as I will be 39 in November! I love how you look at this and I will print it and save it for a day where I feel overwhelmed by the thought of turning 40.

    Thank you!

  4. Simply Darlene

    All aboard! I am the bus driver to “just about 40” and if it’s over the hill, then hang on sister, cause I’m takin’ us off-road for some ruckus! You might wanna click that seatbelt too.


  5. Marilyn

    More me. More the me I was created to be. I feel like I daily am sweeping out the junk that I allow to eat time and mental space, all of it blown in by the incessant need to be on top of everything, in the know, etc.

  6. Chyrll

    These are my sentiments/desires also and I am approaching 64…NEVER thought I would be this ‘young’!!!

    “And while I’m still here — for how many ever days He sees fit — I want to bloom for my Maker. And I want my life to do more and more of this one thing: magnify His great name.

    I want to live my life seeking
    God’s plans
    on God’s earth
    for God’s glory and
    God’s great name.

  7. Deidra

    My dad sent me a note today about a Hospice patient of his. My dad said he asked the gentleman what he hoped people would say about him. The gentleman answered, “He did the best he could with what he had…” My grandfather used to say the same thing. And here I am, pushing 50 (as they say) and riding with my hands up in the air.

    (“They” also say 50 is the new 40…or 30. I hope not. I’m glad to leave the past right where it belongs.)

  8. Linda

    I find you delightfully real Jennifer.
    I guess this age “thing” is all a matter of perspective. From where I’m standing 40 looks rather young!

  9. Dionna

    I feel the same way! I just turned 40 in July and can hardly believe I’m….40! But my heart is as yours is. I want to be more comfortable and free in my own skin.

    The good news is – I think I’m getting there. 🙂

  10. Dave

    God has sown good seed. Your roots have grown deep, my friend.

    The fragrance of these words has an distinctive and unique bouquet.

    Your blossom will surely bring the Father honor.

  11. r.ellott

    First let me say…I love the sunflowers…I think it is so true…you can’t hide your true colors as you approach your autum. amen to wanting to live life seeking…all…

  12. kendal

    i’m 41 but still feel 21. i love my life more and more the older i get.

  13. Stacy

    The older I get the more I am willing to let the world see the real me…flaws and all. The closer I get to God the more free I feel to shine in HIS glory and ENJOY my life. I love the thought that we can’t hide our true colors during the autumn of our life. Just look at nature…how brilliantly glorious!

    Loved your post, loved your writing, love life though your eyes!

  14. Duane Scott

    Well, I know an instance where said 39 year old showed a 22 year old (why did you choose that number anyway) how to do some pretty techy stuff. 🙂

    I LOVE this post. Picking up speed for the wild ride home.

    Definitely one of my favorites from you. 🙂

    It deserves to be shared.

  15. Lea Culp

    Oh, me, I’m w-a-y over the hill, just turned 59 and holding on to everything I’ve got. :o) I cherish each and every day because I realize each and every day that I am not guaranteed tomorrow. And, thank goodness, He’s still working on me.

    Blessings to you for a wonderful week!

  16. Lea Culp

    It’s me again…….I was just browsing through your blog and saw that you use to write for the Des Moines Register. My baby brother lives in Urbandale, a suburb of Des Moines. We love that country and always look forward to going there. It’s a great place! By the way, I love, love your blog design. Who did it?

  17. Jennifer@Adam's Rib

    Keep your face lifted heavenward, petals wide open to receive His glory shining on you. Radiant.

  18. Sandra Heska King

    These images are stunning. My sunflowers are brown for the most part now and bowed–feeding the finches and the chickadees. I think my five minutes spilled a bit more bowed, so I’m hanging on to this one foot in the sunshine of heaven. So I’m jumping on with Deidra. Hands up!

    You’re really something. You know that? xo

  19. debra

    Oh how this is me … going to be 47 in two months. I believe I’ll choose to be comfortable being just me. Somehow, Jennifer, I might just have needed this permission, although I don’t quite know why. Thank you!


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