Becoming Ol’ Man River…

“And now, the starting lineup for YOUR Houston Rockets…

At small forward, a 6 foot 5 inch phenom out of the University of Texas, number four, Brady Hammond!”

Rockets

At ten years old, this is what I expected to be as an adult (a superstar playing in the National Basketball Association).  I remember driving around my hometown back in Wichita Falls, looking around at all the cars, and thinking:

“These people have no idea what they’re missing!  Here I am, a future NBA star driving around like a ‘normal person’ and they’re all obliviously unaware of me!  If only they knew of the opportunity they’re missing out on…”

25 was my target age.  At 25, I knew I’d be on top of the world.  I’d be in my prime as an NBA player and would be featured in magazines, TV specials, and posters all across the country!  My life was going to be epic…

It’s been sixteen years now and it turns out all those people driving around Wichita Falls didn’t really miss out on much (getting an autograph from an ISS instructor apparently isn’t as appealing as getting one from a famous NBA star).  This is by no means a shock to me; I accepted my fate as a non-NBA player a long time ago…

What has become a shock to me is that my target age I dreamed of as a kid (25) has now come and gone!  It seems like just yesterday I was thinking how long it would take for me to get to 25.  I had all the time in the world and would surely be a kid for what would seem like forever!

Well “forever” has officially ended, and I now sit here a 26 year-old “old man” typing this post…

In America, it can be hard for us to accept aging and death.  Everything we physically need is conveniently at our fingertips (food, clothes, shelter, etc.), so accepting anything inconvenient (such as aging and death) can be particularly hard.  As a result, many of us take an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality and block the idea of death from our minds.  We pretend our lives are going to last forever and refuse to acknowledge that we may look like this someday…

The Bible tells us that death will come like a “thief in the night,” so we need to prepare for it instead of ignoring it.  If you’ve never seriously thought about your mortality, I challenge you to reflect on the following questions:

1)  What is the purpose of my short life on earth?

2)  How can I maximize my impact during my short life on earth?

3)  What is going to happen when my short life on earth is over?

For me, having the confidence that God has a purpose for my life, gives me the tools to maximize that purpose, and assures me that death is not the end, really puts me at peace with aging and death.  This makes it much easier for me to enjoy my life and not view my birthdays as “countdowns to my doom.”  Instead, I’m going to view each birthday as a sign of another year I’ve been blessed with and thank God for the blessing that is each passing year.

Birthday

And as these years pass, I fully anticipate my body to breakdown, my hair to turn grey, and my “striking physique” to become less and less attractive.  But that won’t stop me from enjoying my life like a kid.  I will continue to play, continue to joke, and continue to look at this world with childlike wonder–for isn’t life too miraculous and amazing to do otherwise?

“We don’t quit playing because we grow old, we grow old because we quit playing.”–Oliver Holmes

Here’s to 26 more years of playing!

-BH

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