Green: A quiet bang and the advantages of a slower pace


I am old.

There. I said it. And although “old” is a relative term, you can’t argue with the fact that I’m now older than I’ve ever been. It’s funny, though. I don’t feel old. At least not in my head. But my brain and my body get into a daily shouting match about what is and isn’t appropriate behavior for a %$ year-old woman. And most often, my body wins.

Renae Green column

I creak out of bed and shuffle into my expensive orthopedic slippers because my feet hurt in the mornings. I creep to the kitchen at tortoise speed and fix my morning coffee. Then I climb back up the stairs to get ready for the day, all the while asking myself if the climb can count as my daily workout.

Everything moves slower these days, and I have to work harder to keep up. Just last weekend, Superman and I went on a date to a local theater production. It was fabulous! But by intermission, we both struggled to stay awake. My current bedtime is earlier than my kindergarten bedtime, and I don’t even fight it. I look forward to it.

When I was 20, I pictured my life as a comet, or a shooting star. I knew I’d create a flaming streak across the path of my life. I’d make a difference, and people would know my name. When I died, I’d go out with a bang. The world would be changed for the better, because I lived.

But the older I get, the whole “out with a bang” idea sounds less and less appealing. I find myself content to fade into the background and let others shine. I actually enjoy taking a back seat, whispering words of encouragement when needed, and watching the show from the cheap seats.

Is that so wrong?

I hope not. Because I like the slower pace. I like it a lot.

The older I get, the more I think I’d like to go out with a whisper instead of a bang. I once thought it was a sad thing to get older, to fade like dated wallpaper. Now, more than ever before, I see beauty and strength and virtue in the compost pile: plants, once bursting with life, now paying it forward to give life to the next generation. There’s power in that, because that’s the stage where our contributions multiply exponentially.

Oh, the fireworks are nice. I love watching people light up the sky with their gifts, their talents, their great works. But there’s something to be said for the influence, the beauty of a whisper. There’s something exquisite about pouring ourselves into those who come behind, creating a quiet bang of energy for the future.

I think I’ll do more whispering in the days to come. After all, the Bible rarely encourages us to shout. Instead, we’re instructed to live quiet lives, to work with our hands, to go about our business showing love, kindness and compassion to others.

“…make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands…” 1 Thessalonians 4:11

Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly perfect children, and far-too-many animals. Connect with Renae at www.RenaeBrumbaugh.com