What to Do When You’re Not So Cool Anymore

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Tough GuyIf there’s one thing true about all humans everywhere is that we all long to be loved. I’ve never met anyone who thrives on personal rejection. We all want to be accepted. We all desire intimate connection. We might choose to be in with the out crowd (like my skater, tattooed, dreadlocked god-daughter), but we still want to be a vital part of something and linked to others in a way that matters.

A broken and wounded heart might pretend to not care and scream, “I don’t give a rat’s pituty about what others think of me,” but deep down we all care. Why? Because we’re humans, and we were made to live connected in community.

About a month ago, I was with a group of about fifteen younger people who were going to carpool to a meeting downtown. As we walked out the door to depart I said, “Hey, I have room for three people to go with me.” No one replied, in fact, the look on their faces said, “Thanks, but we’re going in the cool car!” It was awkward and certainly not what I expected. I ended up coercing one of them to go with me, but on the return trip he bailed. Hmmm . . .

A few years back (more like a decades ago), I was the guy most everyone wanted to be around. I was the cool, exciting and fun guy, and lots of people wanted to hang with me.

Cool boy

But then my hair went gray, my potbelly went global, and my Hawaiian shirts went out of style. Somehow I went from the trendy pastor who was like a hip big brother to the grandpa with hair growing in embarrassing places. I look in the mirror, and I wonder, “When did I get old? I don’t feel that old, but no one would call me eye-candy anymore.”

So I’ve been thinking a lot about what I should do now that I’m the “old guy.” If you can relate, here are some insights to consider:

  • Get over it. Things change. Life changes. And I was probably never as cool as I thought anyhow (and neither were you).

  • Embrace it. I suppose I could dye my hair, stop eating what I love to eat (like pizza), and spend an inordinate amount of time exercising with the hope of recapturing my youth. But sooner or later my wrinkly, wart-ridden and worn-out body is going to outpace my futile attempts to look good. Of course, I should do whatever I can to stay healthy, but perhaps it’s time to become comfortable in my skin (such as it is).

Old man with a big beard and a smile

  • Remember it. Honestly, I remember thinking in my younger days about some of the old folks in my life, “What do they know? They’re out of touch.” Of course, when it came to technology, music and attire, they were behind the times. But regarding the things that truly matter, like wisdom and life, I too often failed to listen and learn from these wise old saints. Remembering how I once was helps me have grace toward others who act the same way I did in my youth. It’s okay; someday they’ll understand.

  • Deliver it. The truth is, I’ve earned every one of my gray hairs! I may not be very chic, but I have learned a lot of lessons about life. My wisdom can help those in my wake to avoid some of the idiocy I experienced. Sadly, in our western culture, we tend not to revere age, but whether others want it or not, I will share what I know out of love whenever and wherever I can.

Wise old Solomon once wrote, “The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old” Proverbs 20:29 (NLT). If you’re young, revel in your strength and vitality. We need your energy and adventuresome spirit. But maybe the next time you have the opportunity, you can hit the pause button for a moment and ask the old guy or gal in your life a few questions. Questions like, “What have you learned about life that might help me?” They’ll probably smile and say, “I’m honored that you asked.”

By the way, cool or not, I’m not giving up my Hawaiian shirts. Sooner or later they’ll be back in style and trendy. I’m old enough now to realize that just about everything returns eventually.

Tahitian short sleeved shirts

 

Check out my recently published book: Mr. & Mrs. ~ How to Thrive in a Perfectly Imperfect Marriage! Click HERE to order it on Amazon. BTW, when you order the print version, you get the digital version for free!

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16 Responses to What to Do When You’re Not So Cool Anymore

  1. I’m at the point where my doctor’s most common expression is, “Well, as we get older…” Old guys may be uncool but think of the wisdom, know-how, and life experience we possess. I am thankful for you, brother.

  2. Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom, Kurt. I needed to hear, “…share what [you] know out of love whenever and wherever [you] can.” I also needed the reminder not to take myself too seriously — to “get over it” and “embrace it.” Great advice!

  3. Turning 37 this month….. That awkward stage where the 20-somethings are pretty sure I have one foot in the grave, and the 50s=plus still call me a whippersnapper. I often feel like I need to impress BOTH groups. Thanks for the reminder that I have stuff to offer– even as a “tween.”

  4. Much as I may hate to admit it, I relate 100% to everything you wrote Kurt. I get reminded of how “out of it” I seem to young folks just about every time I talk to my 15 year old.

    Sometimes I think that if I hear “you just don’t get it, Dad” ONE MORE TIME…

    Thanks for reminding me that I used to think the same way and that someday he’ll understand.

  5. Ah, the age old question….AGE!!! I have decided not to have any more “birthdays”. I am just going to celebrate the 9 anniversary of my 60th birthday!!!! Old, well, sort of. But I still golf every day (in the WARM months) and I am the “baby” in my steady group of golfers!!! I do the yard work, and the “heavy” housework, and basically keep my mind working (sort of)!!! Things don’t quite work as good as they used to, but I am still upright and breathing!!! I was never “cool”, but I decided that since I can fulfill a need when someone needs something “fixed”, I just accept that and get on with life. Love to help, and that is a feeling no one can take from me. Adrian Rogers said that “A man has not yet begun to live till he is prepared to die” and since accepting Jesus into my life, and trusting His promises, I am prepared and I just love to LIVE!!! We all age, and Kurt, you have so much wisdom, and I am so happy you share it with such verve!!! Love you, Brother!!!

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