If I could now turn back the years, if that were mine to choose, I would not barter age for youth, I’d have too much to lose.
I am quite content to move ahead, to yield my youth, however grand. The thing I’d lose if I went back is what I understand.
These thoughts were penned by clergyman, Boyd Packer when he was 69-years-old. He recited them during a public address where he contemplated his life’s accomplishments. In his comments, he lamented on the things he had lost, but he mostly focused on what he had gained. The following are a few of the points he made during his speech:
What we gain through the years outweighs what we lose
As we age and begin to more regularly inventory our lives, we often focus on the things we’ve lost:
We may not retain what we’ve read through only once.
Perhaps we require the use of a cane, walker or wheelchair.
Small chores leave us winded.
Sleep may elude us.
It becomes less uncommon to lose contemporaries.
While these and many more things may be lost to us, the list of things we gain far outweigh our losses. The most important of these are the eternal truths we gain.
God is our constant companion
Like any good father, he wants what is best for us. He has given us powerful tools to allow us to communicate with him and to receive inspiration, light and knowledge from him.
Family is a gift
Families are not made by accident. As we get older, we have children (by birth, by adoption, by fostering, or by simply nurturing a child who needs us). This is a divine right and we must do all we can to protect this divine unit.
We need to take every opportunity to read good books, listen to inspiring music and learn (both in and out of the classroom). This knowledge will remain with us even beyond this life.
Studying your scriptures every day and praying for understanding will bring you the wisdom to successfully navigate through life. Do your best to not waste trials and tribulations. They are also a great source of wisdom.
Compassion and Empathy
The more wisdom you gain from your trials, the more compassion and empathy you can have for those who are trying to stay afloat in their own rough waters. Try to lose judgment and opt for a gentler understanding that we are all here to learn. If we are wise, we will be able to separate the sinner from the sin.
Personal relationship with God
Each of us is entitled to receive promptings of the Holy Spirit to guide us and protect us.
With age, we can learn what is really important and what is not. We can dismiss the evil temptations and thoughts that the adversary may use to tempt us. We can do this, because, with age, we have finally learned that we have the power to act and not be acted upon.
Hopefully, we learn to conquer impatience and become more willing to wait on the Lord and other things that are worthwhile. We lost the need to have immediate gratification.
The accumulation of blessings
Due to the years we have endured, we have picked up countless blessings along the way. We need to take them out of their trunk, admire them, be thankful for them, and count them as long as we are able to remember them.
These are the things of divinity and eternity. These are what we take with us when we leave this mortal existence. The things we lose are of no consequence in the grand scheme of things. All that we need will be restored to us.