Have you ever really wanted something only to find out after you got it that it wasn’t that great? Getting old is not all it’s cracked up to be. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Aging is not for sissies. I’m glad that my wife is older than me so I can know what I have to look forward to. Everything hurts and what doesn’t hurt doesn’t work anyway. We think of an old person as someone over 65, but statistics show that things begin to slow down after 30. Your immune system begins to lose its punch, muscles shrink, the joints stiffen, skin begins to sag, and your hormone levels drop.
Solomon tells us to enjoy life while we can because problems come with aging. He refers to aging as “days of darkness” (Eccl. 11:8) and in Ecclesiastes 12:1 he calls aging “evil days” (NASV), “days of trouble” (NIV), “days of adversity” (HCSB), or “time of affliction.” He continues to poetically describe old age with figures of a coming storm (dark, overcast, cloudy day) and compares it to an old house that has seen better days. Things aren’t as satisfying as they once were – whether things to see, things to eat, things to hear, or things to do. When old people get together it can sound like a medical convention where we’re describing all the things that can go wrong with our bodies.
What do we do? Be thankful. Stop complaining. Every day is a gift from God. Solomon isn’t a total pessimist. He encourages us to remember God in the “days” of our youth. Rejoice in each new day. Make the most of what you’ve been given. Enjoy the days of sunshine and happiness.
When our kids used to complain, we’d respond that “life is hard.” Solomon concludes that all is vanity, it’s all a waste. He observes a large spectrum of life and his report is discouraging. He says life is hard, death is unavoidable, life is filled with many injustices, riches are futile, hard work is often not appreciated and unless God is in the picture you are going to realize that it’s all a waste. A life lived without God produces a bitter, discouraged, and lonely old person.
Paul says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16, NIV). You don’t have to grow old on the inside. Sometimes I wonder who’s the old guy in the mirror because in my mind I still feel young. Eternity is far longer than our life on earth. True satisfaction comes from knowing God and pleasing Him.