What Kind Of Old Person Do You Want To Be?


I still remember the first time I was challenged by this question.

It was July, 1996.

I was visiting some relatives in Alberta, Canada, and one afternoon while reading a book called The Life God Blesses, I turned and read the title of chapter seven—and there it was:

What Kind Of Old Person Do You Want To Be?

I remember reading the heading and thinking: I’ve never thought about this question. Ever!  

That was 20 years ago, and I can honestly say I’ve thought about the question many times since. I find the question a very important one; a really challenging one. Here’s why.

  • First, who we will be tomorrow, we are becoming that person today!

No one wakes up one morning and simply is. Who we are; we have become, and who we will be; we are becoming. If we’re an angry person in our 30’s, we don’t magically become a gentle and kind person in our 70’s. If we’re a negative person in our 40’s, without making some deliberate changes, we’ll be a negative person (and probably even more so!) in our 80’s.

The kind of old person we will be isn’t a mystery. The decisions we make each day and the attitudes we cultivate along the way, determine who we will one day be.

  • Second, old age gets here faster than we think.

I can’t believe I’m 59!

I can’t believe I have children in their 30’s!

I can’t believe I graduated high school 40 years ago!

I can’t believe my parents are already in their 80’s!

I’m in a season of my life right now where every seven days seems more like three. And I’m told, the slope only gets steeper and faster from here!

So what kind of old person do you want to be?  As you consider the question, let the following story inspire you!

A theology professor by the name of Howard Hendricks, tells a story in his book Teaching To Change Lives, about an elderly person who had greatly inspired him. He writes.

Not long ago I lost one of my best friends, a woman eighty-six years old. The last time I saw her on planet earth was at one of those aseptic Christian parties. We were sitting there on eggshells, looking pious, when she walked in and said, “Well, Hendricks, I haven’t seen you for a long time. What are the five best books you’ve read this past year?”

She had a way of changing a group’s dynamics. Her philosophy was, Let’s not bore each other with each other; let’s get into a discussion, and if we can’t find anything to discuss, let’s get into an argument.

She was eighty-three on her last trip to the Holy Land. She went there with a group of NFL players. One of my most vivid memories of her is seeing her out front yelling back to them, “Come on men, get with it!”

She died in her sleep at her daughter’s home in Dallas. Her daughter told me that just before she died, she had written her goals for the next ten years.

Wow that story inspires me!

So What Kind Of Old Person Do You Want To Be?  The answer is really quite simple: You are becoming that person today and you will get there sooner than you think.

So let’s live a life that counts and leave a legacy that inspires.

I’m trying. I hope you are as well.

Sincerely Submitted,
Ken L Roberts

Sign up to get future posts delivered to your inbox!

* indicates required

Image: Repro. of painting by (Louis-?)Emile Adan (1839-1937), copyrighted by Braun & Co., N.Y. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons {{PD-US}}


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


9 thoughts on “What Kind Of Old Person Do You Want To Be?

  1. Very sweet, Ken. I plan on being a very loving, maternal, giving and Joyful oldster. And I pray that I leave behind, a legacy of compassion, love, and Christ likeness. Thanks for all your insight.

  2. Ken this really has me thinking as in my many years I could have been a frightened women and ended up staying in my house and never getting out. But as I came to know the Lord I found peace and I found that I could bring joy to many peoples life that needed comforting. I am 72 but I am proud of it as along the way I am still learning and loving life.
    Your writings really get you to think about what is important in life and how what you say and do effects others. Thank you for your blog.
    And yes today I wrote something, it has been a while.

  3. Karol

    Thanks for the comment. I think the key thing you said in your post is that at age 72 you are still learning and loving life. Keep at it.

  4. A timely article as I hang on to my sixties. I shared with my experienced friends and young ones too. I’ve heard that you are who you will be at 40. You have chosen a certain style of clothes, a favorite movie/book genre and other not so important mish- mash. Your temperament as you age is not the first thing on the list.

    I look forward to each post.

    Diane Stader, Jackson, Tn

  5. You’re absolutely right Kenny. I just turned 67 the other day. ‘What?’, you might ask! LOL. Time appears to be going supersonic. As I look back… seems like just yesterday I graduated from Bible school, been in a worship band, gave birth to an awesome Godly son, participated in many mission trips, led a women’s home group for years and watched our son get married nearly a year ago! Where did the time go? I do have some regrets but in general, I believe I’m a God pleasing older (mature – for us sensitive folks) person who loves to love people and be a good friend when needed. Time does fly, so we’d better pay attention and do our best to be as pleasing to God like the ‘older person(s)’ we wanted to grow up and be like. Keep learning and growing… “Don’t Give Up the Ship”! 🙂

  6. I have always tried to be nice and encouraging to everyone that is and are around me. I try to find the best in people regardless of how they come across to me and to others. Deep down inside I find that people are hurting or have been hurt and they don’t want others to know it. I don’t just listen to what a person says or by their body language, I zoom in on the eyes of a person and look deep inside them and it screams volumes to me on what is going on with them and inside them. I just let them really see me as I am and what they see is exactly who I am. A person who is not perfect and sometimes hurting just like they are or helping others to get through the day or encouraging others that today might be rough, but it is always dark before the dawn and a new dawn is coming each and every day.