We’ve recently celebrated two “half-century” birthdays in our family. This turning point, many will say, means that one is “over the hill” and the remaining years are a matter of descending rather than ascending. As I ponder this “over the hill” slogan this morning, I’m not at all sure the phrase holds water.
I remember turning thirty. That was in the early 70’s. Turning 30 years old at that time was characterized by those under thirty as being an abdication of what we called the “counterculture.” At 30 one became a part of the “establishment,” and forfeited the radical and idealistic views of the young. For some of my friends turning thirty was a traumatic experience. It was seen as a descent rather than an ascent.
If a fifty-year old is “over the hill” where does that put me at three score and ten, plus three? If fifty is over the hill, then I’ve been stumbling down hill for the past twenty-three years!
I take exception to the idea that at a certain age a person begins a descent—a downward way that leads to an eventual nonexistence. What a morbid idea it is! To live is to ascend and to continue to ascend whatever comes our way. It is true that the physical body declines with age, but we are more than a body, and we can rise above it with mind and spirit. Life is an uphill struggle. I don’t think anyone can question that statement. We are meant to ascend every one of those struggles. That is what life is—and I’m still alive and ascending!