by Deb DeArmond @DebDeArmond
I like your top,” the silver-haired flight attendant commented as I boarded the Denver-bound flight, “So sparkly.”
“It set off the metal detector in security,” I complained.
“So does my hip,” her snappy reply.
We exchanged glances with a nod and a laugh.
Seated at the front, I watched as she welcomed each passenger with a personal comment or smile—almost like she was welcoming us into her home, greeting us as she would a group of friends. She’s been at this a long time, I thought to myself. She’s good.
We laughed during her safety briefing, breaking from the traditional stuffy announcement. People chuckled – and they listened. Yep. She’s good.
Because I had the prized front row single seat in this smaller regional aircraft, she sat opposite me during takeoff, our knees nearly touching. I could see the nameplate pinned to her uniform. Elizabeth.
“How long have you been flying?” I asked.
“Seventeen years. It’s changed so much over time. It’s not what it used to be.” She detailed some of the changes she’d experienced. Her biggest complaint was the decline of civility from passengers. “Demanding. Loud. Impatient. Rude. Just plain rude, ” she said, shaking her head.
“So, why are you still flying?” Clearly, she was old enough to retire.
“Several reasons. My husband is retired and not well. We need the benefits. And if I quit working, what would I do with myself every day? I’d be old before my time.”
I smiled. For most of us, we’d have said her time had come a long time ago. But that’s not how she saw it. That’s not how she saw herself. And because of her self-image, she was still here – going and doing and living at 30,000 feet—rudeness and all.
I was curious. “Do you still enjoy it?”
“Most days, I love it. For every cranky flyer I encounter, there are two or three who are lovely. Like you.” She smiled. The girl’s got skills.
As I thought about her later, it occurred to me—she’s good, because she has decided to be good. She’s also decided to stay young and to show up each day with that mindset.
Life is a daily decision. What’s my plan for living today? What’s my purpose at this point in my life? How will I show up? We’ve all heard the saying, “You’re as young as you feel.” I’d suggest an alternative, because I decided long ago not to be led by my feelings. I’d propose: “You are as young as you choose to be.” I’m not talking numbers here. I’m talking mindset.
The story of Joshua and Caleb is inspiring. Both men were around 40 when Moses sent them as part of the twelve to explore the land. And because of their decision to see the promise of God instead of their circumstances, they were the only two God allowed into the promised land.
Many years later, as Joshua is dividing the land among those entering, Caleb comes to Joshua with a request:
“Now, as you can see, the LORD has kept me alive and well as he promised for all these forty-five years since Moses made this promise—even while Israel wandered in the wilderness. Today I am eighty-five years old. I am as strong now as I was when Moses sent me on that journey, and I can still travel and fight as well as I could then. So, give me the hill country that the LORD promised me” Joshua 14:10-12a NLT.
Caleb chose to see himself as God did: able, strong and prepared to enter into God’s promise.
My flight ended uneventfully – my favorite kind. But I had been reminded by my new friend that I can’t afford to be “up in the air” about how I show up each day. I will choose to be as young as I need to be – He may have important things for me to do!
Those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary. Isaiah 40:31 NASB
About the author: Deb DeArmond is an expert in the fields of communication, relationship, and conflict resolution. A writer and professional speaker, Deb addresses topics related to the family and women. Her books include: Related by Chance, Family by Choice, I Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last and Don’t Go to Bed Angry. Stay Up and Fight! Deb’s books help readers, whether engaged, newlywed, or long-time married, create the life God meant marriage and family to be. You can read more from Deb at Family Matters/Deb.
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