Last week, for the 24th year, I had the privilege of teaching Bible to high school juniors and seniors at Camp Blue Haven in New Mexico. Hopefully, I helped them grow in their understanding of God’s Word but I know, for sure, that they strengthened my faith by their sincere love for Jesus and their commitment to live out the Gospel in the world. Here’s a picture of the wonderful students that I got to hang out with…
When I look at this picture, I think about what the ancient philosopher Cicero said about getting older. OK, so I’m not that old, but I am at the age where I am thinking about how to age well, and Cicero believed three things about older age. First, that it should be dedicated to service, not goofing off. Second, our greatest gift later in life is wisdom, in which learning and thought create a worldview that can enrich others. Third, our natural ability at this point [in life] is counsel: mentoring, advising, and teaching others, in a way that does not amass worldly rewards of money, power, or prestige.
As Arthur C. Brooks points out in his book From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life, research has shown and continues to show that Cicero was right. People who age best are those who have found a way to invest themselves in others, passing on the wisdom they have collected throughout their lives.
As we age, we experience meaning, purpose, fulfillment, and satisfaction differently than when we were younger. Instead of the creators, we become the counselors. And those who intentionally make that transition just get better with age.
So if you want to age well, then find ways to invest in the lives of people younger than you.
You will be a blessing to them, and they will bless you in return.