One of my best friends that I’ve never met, fellow Triond and Knoji writer Val Mills, wrote an article on Knoji about aging well by starting now, at whatever age you are, to eat right, exercise regularly, sleep enough – all of those healthy habits that are so hard to keep up. Her point was that the healthier you are now will have a lot to do with how well you will age.
I have read a few stories about some determined senior citizens who spend their prime years sitting on the couch eating junk food, who have a health scare like a heart attack, and turn over a new leaf and get healthy and fit. It happens. But not typically. If you want to be an active senior citizen, it probably won’t happen if you sit at a desk all day and on the couch all evening, thinking that as soon as you retire you’ll go for a long walk. Phil Callaway says that his mother started walking when she was 70, and now she’s 82 and they have no idea where she is – but he’s a comedian and I think possibly that could just be a joke.
The same principle applies to hobbies. If you are planning to sit on your front porch swing knitting custom- made doggie sweaters for all the neighbourhood pooches, you might want to learn to knit now. It takes a lot of practice to learn. I learned from my Grandma when I was about 5. We had a language barrier, so she sat me on her lap and moved my hands. My mom never learned how to knit. She said that when she was a grandma she might like to learn, but life got busy, and then suddenly her life was over.
Have you ever thought about what kind of person you want to be when you grow old? It’s never too soon or too late to take stock of your character and ask yourself the tough questions, like ‘Am I the kind of person that I would like to be around?” I heard about a guy who had good looks, a good job, and a really nice car. Then he crashed his car, his good looks were replaced by jagged scars and a permanent limp, and he had to go on disability because he couldn’t work anymore. He said that if he had known he was going to have to depend on his character he would have spent some time developing some.
I have written a few articles about death bed confessions of faith. Quite a few readers have commented that they have made plans to live however they want, and then say a prayer on their death bed. I’m thinking that’s a bit like buying fire insurance after you’ve doused the place with gas, hoping your policy will kick in before you light the match. I think that there have been some people who have sincerely accepted Christ when they knew that death was close. There is a Biblical example in the repentant thief who hung on the cross beside Jesus and was told, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”
One question I have been asked frequently is if a mass murderer can repent just before he is put to death, and be forgiven and go to heaven? I think it is possible, but I wouldn’t recommend trying. There are too many variables that could go wrong, like having God notice that your repentance is insincere. Yeah – I think God would notice. Plus you wouldn’t want to be a mass murderer anyway – they don’t have a good pension plan at all.
So if you want to be a sweet little old lady knitting doggie sweaters on her front porch swing, you shouldn’t wait too long before you buy a swing for your front porch.