Skip to content

I Turned Fifty-Seven Today…Terrible.

April 1, 2019

It is my birthday.  April 2.  I am fifty-seven.

I am in the final quarter of life.  There is no denying it.  A lot of games are lost or won in the final quarter.   I plan to win.

About ten years ago, I noticed the upper-back-part of my head was going flat.  It used to be round back there and suddenly it wasn’t.  I remember wondering, “How can your head go flat?”  I have since solved the mystery.  What of my hair that wasn’t turning white; was jumping ship.  Now all my hair is white and I have less of it than ever.  I would say I have a bald spot but said “spot” is big enough to land a helicopter.  Perhaps I have a cranial helicopter pad.  A couple years back, my granddaughter Mabry asked me, “Papa, why is all the hair on the back of your head falling off?”  I told her I have ruled out good luck.  I think I would prefer a flat head.

Feeling older however, is a recent phenomenon.  I felt as young at fifty as I did at forty.  I made the National Softball Association (NSA) Gold Illinois State Championship All-Tournament Team as a fifty-one year old shortstop just six years ago.  It seems like another lifetime ago.  Perhaps two lifetimes…  The next four years of softball that followed established clearly that my ability to compete with twenty and thirty year old athletes was over and in 2017 I retired.

Retired to what you may ask?  Getting older.

Fifty-seven is not great.  My big accomplishment these days is that I am not on regular medication.  It seems to impress people at the doctor’s office but I haven’t put it on a tee-shirt.  Not yet anyway.

Today I was thinking about life and decided to share seven pieces of advice with you.  Now that I am an old dude, I think I am supposed to do that kind of thing:

 

  1. Fill your bucket list Regardless of your age, life comes with no guarantees and no clear expiration date. If you have stuff you still want to do, you had best crack at it.
  2. Make time for important things I have a mental file labeled, “Things I Will Never Regret.”  I try to put something into it every day.  Quality time with the aging people you love fits quite nicely into that file.  So does time with grandkids and dinners out with Melissa.
  3. Lean into what amazes you I worship like a flaming charismatic these days. I find myself desperate for God.  I enjoy nature as I never have before and I am blown away by sunsets, rushing rivers and mountain views.  I love the way that clouds look from a plane, my semi-annual trips to Israel and that I get to travel to some many wonderful places, meet such interesting people and see such incredible things.  Sunrises are awesome too…I hear they are anyway.
  4. Live Humbly I find myself more aware of the contributions of others to my success these days; more comfortable with the big picture, less concerned about the little stuff and thankful to God for any abilities He may have had entrusted to me. I am so grateful for the friends, mentors, peers and the staff with whom I have served over the years.  You are never tempted to think you are the smartest person in the room when you realize you are the most blessed.
  5. Keep it Simple Since life has forced me to slow down a bit, I have developed an appreciation the for the things you miss at high speeds Time with children and grandchildren, sitting by a backyard fire on a cool evening, a soak in a hot tub, the way the stars fill the sky like diamonds on clear nights, fresh snow, good music, leaves in the fall, a good meal and the sound of running water are such things.
  6. Live until you die Aging is inevitable but getting old is optional. I can feel myself drifting toward becoming more impatient, inflexible, recalcitrant, curmudgeoned and less inclined to try new things by the year.  I have decided to fight it tooth (increasingly implants) and nail because there is no upside.  Some days I have to remember to smile.  It will be time to stop living when I die.
  7. Finish Well These days I sometimes flip over my proverbial baseball card and look at the stats on the back. Not bad.  I have been married thirty-six years, raised two incredible children, have four beautiful grandchildren nearby and have more people who care about me than I deserve.  My life has been spent doing something that matters and I have few regrets.  I am proud of the life I have lived and honored by the people who have shared that life with me.  Having run well, I pray for the grace to finish well.  It is a good prayer.

 

I don’t know what lies ahead.  As you get older, the future seems more uncertain than ever.  I do know I will one day die and that I am not dead yet.  I still have more hair to lose!  I am still trying out how to make the next and last transition in life; the shift from the third to the fourth quarter.  Perhaps I will become a body builder.  Like all those old guys you see on television with abs of steel, traps like Tarzan and guns for biceps.  But then again, those guys are also tanned, have full heads of hair (with pigment) and don’t eat pizza.  On second thought, I will just keep on pressing on and praying for the wisdom and grace to figure it all out…and eat pizza.  I am still going to eat pizza.

So here I come year fifty-eight …I am not afraid of you.

My best days are still ahead!

I hope yours are as well!

-Rev. Shane L. Bishop is has been the Sr. Pastor of Christ Church in Fairview Heights, Illinois since 1997.

 

 

6 Comments
  1. Joyce Blankenship permalink

    Happy Birthday! I have a feeling our Heavenly Father, has many plans before you are 95 ! 😇😏

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. Sandy Beckley permalink

    Congratulations!!!! And many more to come!!!

  3. Jim Hursey permalink

    As I have gotten old to me Age is a matter of mind, if you don’t mind….it doesn’t matter.

  4. Rose Harrelson permalink

    Happy Birthday Rev Shane!!! Live life to the fullest each day! One day you will hear well done good and faithful servant ! I pray you many many healthy year ahead of you. The best is yet to com.🎉🎂

  5. Lisa Pierce permalink

    Happy Birthday! I know it’s a day late. Maybe something to do with that aging thing you mentioned. Haha I have been reading your blogs for a while now and love them all. But this one…is the best I have ever read anywhere, from anyone on getting, as my doctor says so nicely, more mature. Okay, aging!
    I will be hitting the six-decade mark in September. Like you, I plan to live until I die but with RA and other medical issues I may be living my last days stuck in a bed. Only God knows, but I’ve always been a fighter and don’t intend to stop. I really appreciate this encouraging and delightful blog. God bless you always.

  6. Vince Delgado permalink

    Happy Birthday Shane. I feel blessed to have you as a friend and my pastor. Just my opinion, but I think that your stats look pretty darn good. You just might make another All Star team before the game is over 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: