Loving the Second Half as Much as the First Half

By on May 1, 2015
loving the second half as much as the first half

By Tammy Whitehurst−

I’m an “empty nester.” As many of you probably are too. My husband and I smile a lot more at each other these days. Our children are grown. It is a time to love the second half of our lives as much as we did the first half. 

As I look back, I have to say that I had my share of guilt regarding parenthood. None of us had it all together if we are really honest (Now don’t roll your eyes when I say that). Let me explain.

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I know from experience that “Graceland” really exists (I live there most of the time). I have an empty nest now, but I still need grace for life. Recently, I read, Motherhood: The Guilt That keeps on Giving, by Julie Ann Barnhill—a funny book that speaks to the mother’s heart.

I have made a lot of mistakes, but I like to admit I did some things right. We are often bombarded with everything we did “wrong” as a parent when so many of us were doing the best thing we thought at the time. There was no manual for us and most of us have to admit that parenting is the hardest job ever. Let’s push the regrets aside and think about the things we don’t regret (This was an idea I loved in the book).

Yes, it is difficult to make this list at first, because it changes our focus. But, it is entirely possible, and you will enjoy it. I do not regret making my children get a job, cheering LOUD for them at sporting events, or eating pizza for breakfast on school test days. One friend of mine said, “I don’t regret teaching my two boys to live life like there is no tomorrow! I also taught them that an argument can be resolved over a good plate of food. I always made them sit through the halftime show of any football game they go to because someone worked hard to present that show. They still do that today!”

Once you begin this list, a smile will emerge across your face and your day will be brighter.

Life should be experienced, not suffocating.  

Sometimes we’ve got to relax and let life happen without worry and control issues. We can’t fix everything no matter how hard we try. We have to let go a little before we squeeze the life out of ourselves and others. In life we can be known as a fountain or a drain. I choose to be a fountain, even though I know I have had my drain days too. Examples of a “drain”, are drama and gossip—two things I do not welcome into my life’s journey. They suffocate me. They steal my joy and take precious time away that could be used for a better purpose. I’ve learned that the hard way. I pursue being a fountain more now.  

Take a deep breath and you can do it too. Keep running the race with endurance. If you fall, get back up. If you skin your knee, bandage it up and keep running. Don’t ever stop. Look at life through the rose-colored glasses of optimism and not the gray glasses of pessimism. Your life will be happier and your heart will be lighter. Begin today fully alive with your arms wide open!

Friends should make us feel better about ourselves not worse.

Friends help us to be a better version of who we were created to be. They spark up life and chase away loneliness. Friends are valuable.

I prayed God would send me friends who would make me feel good not bad. Friends should hold us accountable and make us thankful, not make us feel down and out. Friends should be “fountains” not “drains” to us.

I love my friends who make me laugh hard. I have discovered as I get older that we laugh a lot better than young girls laugh. We laugh so hard we have tears not only running down our cheeks, but down our legs too! Only those over the age of 45 understand that sentence. I love my friends who don’t say yes to everything and will tell me what I need to know or if my “crazy” is showing too much. We all have a little crazy that lives with us. Friends bring out the best in “crazy” too. One thing about a true friend…they don’t let us do silly things alone. Things like dancing 80’s style or singing old school tunes in the car loudly or laughing hard in a restaurant or, Lord forbid,…the public library where we might get kicked out. If you don’t have good friends, you might consider finding a few new ones.

Pitch perfection out the window.

We don’t have to be perfect to impress and inspire people. We don’t have to have the perfect body or exercise like Jane Fonda. I was once asked what my favorite exercise class was at my age. I responded, “Chewing!” We can appear to be perfect or we can let people be impressed and inspired by how we deal with our imperfections. If we appear to have “it all figured out,” we build a wall around ourselves and no one will look at us as the “real deal” anymore.

This is something I get better at – the older I get. For some reason, I thought God could only use me if I was perfect. We might as well take off that mask. It doesn’t fool anyone but ourselves. Real is the best deal. I now know God will use me if I am willing to be used. I haven’t arrived at perfection yet. I have a sneaking suspicion I never will until the gates of heaven open and let me in one day down the road of my journey. Live your life, forget your age, and you will be blessed beyond belief.

Tammy Whitehurst, a Christian speaker, is the founder of Joy for the Journey Ministries. You can read more about her at tammywhitehurst.com.

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About Tammy Whitehurst

Tammy Whitehurst, a Christian speaker, is the founder of Joy for the Journey Ministries. You can read more about her at tammywhitehurst.com or find her on facebook Tammy Whitehurst where she shares a daily devotional designed to kick life up a notch…or two. Her facebook page is JOY FOR THE JOURNEY.

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Loving the Second Half as Much as the First Half