Tennis player Venus Williams gets it all the time. Questions about her age. Although
the 37-year- old is ranked ninth in the world and is having her best season in years,
reporters always question her age, as if she has exceeded her shelf life as a tennis
player and her next game might be expected to be her last.
She reminds the reporters that age doesn’t matter. She is at the top of her game and
still has much to offer. “These things I know, that I’m quite strong and I’m quite
capable,” she said. “So that’s all I need.” (1) When asked the reason for her continuing
success, she says, “There are a lot of explanations. But all I can say is that I’m
And perhaps those two comments— that age doesn’t matter and that she is grateful—
are the key to her success. That’s a lesson we can all remind ourselves of when we
begin to attach limitations to age.
While thoughts of aging focus on time– past years accumulating and fears regarding
future prospects– gratitude focuses on present good. This opens our thought to all the
new ways God is meeting our need and lifts our thoughts away from self-pity to how we
can give back to others.
Mary Baker Eddy, who at 87 years old founded the award-winning international
newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor in 1908, recognized both these points– the
benefits of gratitude and that age didn’t need to limit one’s capabilities. In Eddy’s
seminal book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she wrote, “Never record
ages. Chronological data are no part of the vast forever. Time-tables of birth and death
are so many conspiracies against manhood and womanhood. Except for the error of
measuring and limiting all that is good and beautiful, man would enjoy more than
threescore years and ten and still maintain his vigor, freshness, and promise.” (2) And
she proved this herself, leading an active, productive life decades past the life
expectancy of a woman in her day.
Eddy’s standpoint was more than positive thinking. Spiritual growth was the cornerstone
of her life. She perceived and demonstrated through her healing work the truth that
Jesus taught and proved–that life is essentially spiritual and eternal. And the more life is
seen as spiritual, the more it is possible to put off age limitations.
Honor Hill, a Christian Scientist, has seen this in her own experience. For many years
she gave public lectures on a spiritual view of aging. She recounts, “I often said, ‘We
know that old is the opposite of young. But old is also the opposite of new.’ I would then
challenge the audience to think about what they did to grow new every day. Because to
experience something new every day is to embrace life.” (3)
Honor, a grandmother with adult grandkids, took up running several years ago. Her
understanding of her spiritual nature and eternal life has helped her apply these
concepts to her new sport. She started first with a 5K walking race and then worked up
to marathons and is planning do one in Berlin, Germany this year. But she started this
not just to prove she could; she did it because she loved it– and still does. “I’ve made
new friends and found new ways of looking at the world,” she says. “It’s about
Gaining new, less-limited concepts, such as life being spiritual and therefore timeless,
can free anyone to experience abundant good regardless of age.
1. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p246:17
Valerie Minard writes regularly on the connection between consciousness,
spirituality, and health. She is a Christian Science Committee on Publication for
New Jersey. Contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter