According to the World Health Organization, the overall life expectancy in the United States is 79 years. That’s a long time! What’s encouraging to me is no matter what our life expectancy, we get to choose how we live our years.
Think about that for a moment. We get to choose:
- How we will spend our time
- What areas of interest we will pursue
- What we will study and learn
- The skills we will develop
- The attitude and world view we will adopt
- How we will treat others
- Our level of intellectual development and learning
- Who we will spend time with
- What contribution we will make in the world
- The experiences we’ll have
- Whether or not we will stretch out of our comfort zone
What a significant and exciting responsibility! We get to choose what we do with our years and how they will shape us, now and in the future.
Last Sunday, my pastor was preaching on a similar topic regarding life expectancy and what we do with the years we’re given. During his sermon, he made the following statement:
“Don’t live one year 79 times.”
That got my attention.
The statement reminds me that as we get older, we are not required to grow, develop, discover, learn, and get better with each passing year. That’s optional. It is something we get to decide to do, or not. I am also reminded that growth is not automatic. Getting better as we age doesn’t just happen; rather it takes intentional action from us.
What is automatic is being exactly the same at the end of a year as you were at the beginning. Unless we decide, and take action on how we will spend our years, we can be assured we will be exactly the same this year as we were last year. And so on, for as long as we choose not to be intentional with how we spend them. Without intentional effort, the current year will look just like the previous one.
What are you looking forward to in 2016? Is there anything you’d like to attain, learn, experience, or become this year that you didn’t in 2015? If so, start planning specific actions you can take throughout the year to become better this year than you were last year.
Seventy nine years is a long time, but it sure feels like they go quick; and even more so the older we get! Let’s decide today to learn, grow, and become better as we get older. Aging and getting better doesn’t always go hand in hand. If we’re not intentional about getting better, then age comes alone.