I love George Carlin’s routine on aging, where he says that when you become a teenager you jump to the next year.
“How old are you?”
“I’m gonna be 16.”
And the greatest day of your life is when you become 21. The words sound like a celebration. You become 21. But then you turn 30. It sounds like soured milk. Oooh, he turned, we had to throw him out. You BECOME 21, you TURN 30 and then you’re PUSHING 40.
Whoa! Put on the brakes. It’s all slipping away and before you know it, you REACH 50. And all your dreams are gone. But wait, you MAKE it to 60. You didn’t think you would.
So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50, and MAKE it to 60. You have built up so much speed that you HIT 70. When you get into your 80s every day is a complete cycle. You HIT lunch, you TURN 4:30 and you REACH bedtime.
And it doesn’t stop in the 90s. In the 90s you start going backwards. “I was just 92.”
And then if you ever make it to 100, you become a little kid again. “I’m a 100 and a half.”
When you make it to 60, which I did last week, you get all kinds of cards, such as, “What’s the best thing about being 60?” You open it up and on the inside is nothing. The elderly comedian George Burns was once asked, “What’s the best thing about being in your 90s?” He said, “The lack of peer pressure.”
Well, when I made it to 60, the church threw a nice party for me. They tried to make me feel better with cake and punch. The biggest punch was thrown the very next day. Mother Nature played a cruel joke on me. As if to remind me that the party was over and growing old is not for sissies, I got a kidney stone. I’m talking the very next day. When I made it to 60, plus 24 hours, I got the baddest dude in town. I wasn’t sure what or who would pass first, me or the kidney stone. As I was planning my funeral, it passed, and I put those plans on hold.
As the kidney stone hit me like a Craig Kimbrel fastball, I quoted scripture. I never knew until last week that King David had a kidney stone. But after reading the 23rd Psalm, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” I am convinced of it. Or you might think I would go to a passage such as Matthew 11: 28, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Weary and heavy laden aren’t strong enough words.
No, I went to Ecclesiastes 12 where the writer says: “Remember thy creator in the days of thy youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, ‘I have no delight in them.’” Is he saying that the 60s are evil days and kidney stones are just the beginning?
I think he is wrong, of course, and I plan to enjoy life as God gives it. However, I’m hoping that the rest of my days in the 60s are better than my first day.
Davis is pastor of the First Baptist Church in Carrollton.