How Can I Pay It Forward?
They will still yield fruit in old age; They shall be full of sap and very green…
It was kind of funny…in a way that wasn’t all that funny.
Opening night, I walked into the big social media/writing/blogging conference. There was something different about it that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I felt slightly out of place. We were gathered around big round tables, women were friendly and a little nervous, many of them first-time conference attendees like me.
Then I had a realization took me maybe a little longer than it should have...I shook off my feelings of discomfort and followed the schedule to attend the workshops I had selected. The conference was full of life, and faith, and women, mostly, who were cheering each other on and sharing with each other generously.
Then there was one keynote speaker who was a little older…59, I believe. She was lovely, full of grace, wisdom, and a peace that had been refined through the years.
Then it hit me…She was the first woman I had seen who was closer to my age.
Everyone else was about 20 years younger than me. Funny, but it really took me almost 24 hours of being at the conference before I realized why I was feeling…different. I could’ve been a mother to most of the attendees!
“I’m old!” It was a moment of reckoning.
What am I doing amongst all these beautiful, young, tech-savvy gals? I surely don’t belong here. Though I’m way past most of them in years, they are way ahead of me in this world of blogging and social media. Was I barking up the wrong tree? Running in the wrong race? Out of my middle-aged (at least) mind?
I had to process this for a while because I hadn’t thought much about being old-er.
When I returned home from the conference, I told my sister that I seemed to be one of only a handful of women over 50 at the conference. (And several of the older women came just to take care of their grandbabies.) My sister encouraged me, “I hope you don’t feel bad about this. I’m so proud of you. This means you’re doing something that most women your age aren’t. You’re cutting edge. Good for you!” Well, that was a different way of looking at the situation.
It also dawned on me that I was almost 20 years older than Kimberly Amici, the Cofounder and Managing Editor of our Contributor/Community website Circles Of Faith. Hmmmmm…
And most recently, I spoke at a MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting. I was definitely an older woman speaking to a room of fresh-faced, young (and maybe a bit sleep-deprived) moms about how to stay married.
Then I was asked to help with MOPs Leadership as a Mentor. Is there a common thread here?
God is so good…He knows my youngest daughter is on the brink of leaving home for college this Fall. That means I’m on the brink of a home no longer full of kids…on the brink of, as my husband says, “Not an empty nest. That’s too negative…a successful nest.”
But what’s next? So far I’ve had a rich life. A life full of ups and downs, twists and turns, good and bad, tears and laughter
How can I pay that forward?
As God opens the door for sharing my stories of raising children, marriage, friendship, fellowship, life lessons, aging parents, I pray I can use it all to bless, encourage, edify younger women…and to glorify the God who has given me this wonderful life.
What stage in life are you in? How can you pay it forward?
Today I’m linking up on Holley Gerth’s site…Lots of inspiration. Join me!