It is harvest time – autumn –the season to reap the rewards from a hot summer of hard labor. Beautiful hues of orange, gold and red are splashed across the trees; the leaves dance with splendor before old man winter claims them. It can be a time to reflect on happy summer memories.
The journey of life is similar. The springtime of youth frolics and plays life away without a care in the world. Summer years bring the productive season. Hard work with satisfying labor yields the results of family and personal goals being achieved. Then, before the winter season claims one’s strength, the autumn years set in. Vim and vigor wanes as the physical body withers. Wrinkles creep across the brow and muscles grow weaker. But, there is also a glowing reaping of rewards from the abundance of the productive years.
Usefulness is not finished just because one enters the autumn years. If one believes they are old and useless, they lose purpose and become lonely and anxious. One needs to set goals, determine purpose. The days after retirement could prove to be the best years of one’s life. Don’t ever let it be said that there is nothing left for you to do. Your life may have just begun, only in a different manner than before. Age should not be counted in days, but in deeds. The autumn years can be the most significant in one’s lifetime. Several have proven that fact. Some of the greatest accomplishments have been made by the world’s seniors.
Anna Mary Robertson Moses said, “Life is what we make it, always has, and always will be.” She didn’t pick up a paintbrush until she was well into her eighth decade selling her first painting for $3 at age 76. In the next 25 years she generated over 1600 canvasses, long enough to see her paintings fetch prices to more than $10,000. Known as Grandma Moses, her American folk art resides in nine museums in the United States, and in Vienna and Paris.Benjamin Franklin was still productive in his later years, inventing bifocals at age 78. He became the ambassador to France in his 80s and signed the U.S. Constitution at 81.
After retiring as U.S. Senator for 23 years, John Glenn was invited by NASA to rejoin the space program he helped to create. At age 77, he became the oldest person to orbit in space in a study of how space flight affects the elderly.
Born in Kiev, Russia, her family immigrated to the United States. As a young woman, she moved to Israel and became the head of the Jewish Agency’s Political Department. Before becoming the 4th Prime Minister of Israel, she was Israel’s Ambassador to the Soviet Union, then Foreign Minister and Secretary General. When the Prime Minister died suddenly, 71-year-old Golda Meir assumed his post as the first female head of the country, and the third woman who ever achieved that success.
Becoming successful is not limited to a certain age or even one career. Dreams have no age limit. New chapters in life can start any time. Mark Twain said, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”
Even the Bible declares one’s usefulness is not over when they reach their golden years. Psalm 92:14 (NIV) says, “They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green….” Moses was in his 80s when he was called to speak to the Pharaoh; when he died at 120 years old, the Bible says his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone. (Deuteronomy 34:7) Caleb, one of the gallant few of Moses’ army, refused to grow old. At age 85, he could have easily thought his job was complete and retreated with the rest. Instead, he prayed to conquer the mountain where the giants lived. On his birthday, he declared, “On this day I am eighty-five. I am as strong as today as the day Moses sent me out; I am just as vigorous to go out to battle as I was then.” (Joshua 14:10-12)Do not let anyone accuse you of being too old to try something new. It is never too late. Some of the most successful people are those who achieved their goals late in life.You have learned valuable lessons and gleaned years of experience that can benefit others. Though you may not be physically fit to do a task, you can creatively offer suggestions and pass on valuable knowledge.
The most effective protection against senility and feeling useless is a creative action plan of setting goals and helping others. Keep your mind nimble by listening, continued learning, reflecting on happy memories, sharing of yourself and befriending others. Keep the connection open to heaven by prayer and meditation. You can do anything you want to if you do what you ought to do. Then, when the autumn years touch your life, you can be assured they will be the best years of your life.