It began with an observation by a blogger. She observed that most bloggers whose work she read were young (she meant younger than thirty, I think) and she wondered why this was.
'Where are the older bloggers?' she opined. Then followed responses from a huge range of perspectives. I found myself laughing wryly as another blogger reassured her that she had been blogging for many years and thought herself 'a veteran'; at the ripe old age of twenty-nine. A couple of people thought that the internet was the wrong forum for older people. I was relieved and encouraged to read an earnestly expressed rebuttal of that particular point of view: someone else thought that the 'older blogger' still had something to say and often had a viewpoint that was 'relevant and interesting' even to a younger audience. Yes, really.
I was challenged to 'find my voice' and 'not be afraid to speak up' and 'embrace new technology' in order to join the throng of online writers despite my advancing years.
There followed a lengthy discussion on whether older bloggers had a significant contribution to make to 'the Blogosphere' or whether they should gracefully move aside and make way for the freshness, innovation and vigour of youth.
Patronising? Well, I'll let you decide.
I don't feel old, you know. I know I'm fast approaching fifty, I know my knees ache after a long walk, and I know that the little line between my eyebrows doesn't go away when I stop scowling any more, but those things don't make me redundant, do they? When I write, can you tell how old I am? Don't answer that, perhaps. Maybe age is a good thing? The wisdom of the Greyhair, and all that?
It doesn't matter.
Maybe age brings wisdom, maybe it doesn't. Maybe I know things now that I didn't know at thirty three. Maybe I've forgotten important things that I knew at twenty-nine.
The most startling, life changing thing you ever read on the internet could be written by a child or an octogenarian.
The truth is that God gave each one of us a voice. Every last one of us. Young and old, fat or thin, black or white, left or right handed. We use our voices to express ourselves in a million different ways; we are endlessly creative for the sole reason that He is the Creator and He made us in His image. To some of us He gave words to play with and the desire to share our words with others. Some of us build our personalised castles in the air online and carve out our little niches on the internet. We have an idea, write a blog post and we press publish. People sometimes read it, and sometimes they don't.
So if there's a discrepancy between the way I see myself and how other people see me, well, whatever, as the youngsters say, haha. God says I'm not too old, and I'll go with that.
He's led me to this place, to the point of sitting here right now taptaptapping on my keyboard (yes! I mastered this newfangled technology and even know how to access the marvellous Interweb!) and telling anyone who will listen to me what the world looks like from where I am.
I want to tell everyone what Jesus has done and is doing in my life and why He is worth loving.
I'm not qualified to do this because I'm old, and nobody is better qualified because they are young. I'm not qualified at all. My qualification comes simply from being His child. He put me together this way. I'm worth listening to because I do my best to speak His words and point away from myself and to Him. I have a right to be here because He sent me.
I could turn to the Bible and talk about Elizabeth, who gave birth to John the Baptist in later life. To Abraham and Sarah, whose aged knees surely ached badly when they knelt to play with their baby boy. I could give many examples of how God uses older people in powerful, history-making ways, but the truth is He used Mary to give birth to the Son of God when she was no more than a child herself. David slew Goliath when he was just a youth. The truth is, it doesn't matter to Him.
Age doesn't get in the way of God's plans at all. If He's got something for you to do, you're the perfect age to do it. So I'm telling myself to get on with it. After years of pottering about with my writing and watching others focus and work and edit and find book deals and hold launches and signings and all that wonderful stuff, I'm still not clear what my goal might be with my writing, and for a long time this has bothered me. Then came this online discussion, and it brought me to a very different conclusion than those of the participants.
If I have something to say, I should say it. I should say it in the best way I can because in using the gifts God has given me because I'm doing it for Him. It's a matter of obedience. I am not defined by my age, any more than I'm defined by my dress size, my exam results, the whiteness of my teeth or whether I get paid for the job I do.
I am too old to have more babies. I am too old to be an Olympic gymnast. I am too old to get into an under-18 disco, but I'm not too old for this. I am not too old to write.
So, if you saw that particular online discussion and wondered if you were past it, over the hill, superfluous - take heart. Wave your hand dismissively and say, whatever.
God has given you some words. Use them.
Helen Murray lives in Derbyshire, England, with her husband, two daughters and her mum.
As well as writing and reading, she drinks coffee, takes photographs, swims, breeds Aloe Vera plants and collects ceramic penguins.
You can also find her here: