The years of September

Oh my, it’s September again!  I love this month with its beginnings of all things good.

September flushes out the heat of summer and, by the end, ushers in the cool breezes of fall. Toward the month’s end, faded green hills turn to shades of brilliant ambers, reds, and golds. Of course, football frenzy is always welcomed, bringing out the happy crazy in all of us. Likewise, Hobby Lobby is stocking its shelves with Christmas merchandise, which always makes Santa and me cheery.

Yes, I greet September happily, except by month’s end, I have turned another page on age. However, since the alternative is not good, I must live on with the number.

Seasons change, and so do we. As the years pass, we become wiser or grouchier, set in our ways, or open to new ideas. We can either believe we are owed the world or that we owe the world. Older folks can become complainers and cranks or thankful and filled with joy. And the longer we live, the worse or better we become, so what will it be?

When I turned 25, I worked with a friend born three days after me. We celebrated our quarter of a century by exchanging little gifts, laughing with our coworkers, and wondering what the future would hold. “Maybe we will still be in touch when we reach the half-century mark!” we both exclaimed.

Our lives traveled in separate directions, and there were years when we lost touch. Yet, sure enough, when 50 rolled around, “Happy Half-Century!” the voice shouted over the phone. We didn’t speak much about our different worlds or what had transpired, but we were amazed at how quickly 25 years became 50. “Well, maybe we will make it to the three-quarter century birthday! I’ll call you if I am here!” he said with a chuckle.

And by October 1st, we will have made it. More than likely, there will not be another celebratory shout-out in 25 years. How quickly did it all pass? Faster than a minute phone call.

Years ago, I typically joined my mother for Sunday brunch at her independent living facility. We were in line at the omelet station when I overheard a disturbing conversation.  The gentleman just ahead of us was loudly berating a young server and complaining bitterly about the state of his less-than-hot sausage.  When I heard him, I felt the fury rise, and Mother immediately noticed it.

Of course, I am an easy read. My face turns red, my eyes widen, and even the birds fly because they know I am about to spew.  Mom grabbed my arm, “Lynn, I know you want to say something, but it won’t do a bit of good.”

“Why, Mom, is he allowed to get away with being cruel?” I asked.

“He is a grumpy old man set in his ways, which have been foul for a while. One can either become as he is or not. But once a complaining, whining, curmudgeon is born of age, only the Good Lord can change them.” And with her finger pointed to my face, she added, “Never become one.”

It is funny that some pearls of wisdom stay with you, and Mom’s idea about aging was a definite pearl. Becoming a disrespectful grump is an affront to being given the gift of a long life.

Now that I am the age of the old man at the omelet station, I still want to kick him in the shins or elsewhere.  One thing that makes those birds scatter in my world is watching folks’ hearts turn to stone with bitterness.

We have much discontent in this world, and it will take all ages and at every stage to calm the anger. We don’t need a bunch of aging grouches to stoke the flames of rage. We, the supposedly wiser ones, could do much more to create a more peaceful world. We build respect and honor if we become more gracious, compassionate,  and kinder with our added years.

Keeping an open mind, a humbled heart, and a thankful soul will keep us younger than any youth elixir, facial cream, or crepe eraser on the market. Age has nothing to do with what can be seen but rather a reflection of the unseen soul.

By the end of September, in 25 years, I hope to be sitting on a cloud with Mom, and perhaps a phone will ring. A familiar voice says, “They don’t have birthdays up here, but we made it to Happy, didn’t we!”

And in the end, isn’t that where the years are supposed to take us?


Lynn Walker Gendusa is a Georgia-based author and columnist. Her first book, “It’s All Write with Me! Essays from My Heart,” was published in 2018. Her latest book is “Southern Comfort: Stories of Family, Friendship, Fiery Trials, and Faith.”  For more inspirational stories, click here. You may reach Lynn at

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