By Chloe Sun
When do we know if we enter mid-life? Is it when we turn 40, 45, or 50? Is it when we see wrinkles on our face? Is it when we spot the first signs of grey hair? Is it when we see that our children are taller than us? For me, mid-life comes when I know that my time ahead of me is limited. Mid-life comes when life becomes more precious.
Mid-life comes when we may feel a sense of loss, a sense of “over the hill,” and a sense of “falling.” Richard Rohr’s book, Falling Upward, captures the fascinating paradox of entering the second half of our lives. It is not falling down but “falling up.” I’ve been asking myself, In what ways am I “falling up”? Here are some of my responses:
(1) I am falling upward because although my age is increasing, I have gained a better understanding of myself, which I would not have known in my younger days. This sense of self-awareness has become a powerful lens to assess myself and the people around me.
(2) I am falling upward because although I am older, I am wiser as well. I have acquired a kind of wisdom that comes only when we go through different stages in life.
(3) I am falling upward because although I am losing my youth, I am gaining a wider perspective about life, people, and work. My world is not as black-and-white, but rather full of color. I am learning to embrace “both-and” rather than “either-or” perspectives.
(4) I am falling upward because although I have lost my ideals, I have become more realistic and appreciative of little things like playing with my dog, having coffee with a friend, and reading a good book. I realize more and more that being able to live is a gift from God.
With age, we lose something but we also gain other things. Life is indeed a fascinating paradox.
Chloe Sun, PhD., has been teaching Hebrew Scriptures at Logos Evangelical Seminary since 2004. Her research interests include culture, gender, and identity issues in the Old Testament, Asian American Interpretations of the Bible, and Wisdom Literature. She lives with her husband and son in Southern California.