I’m 41 and just feel like I’m hitting my stride. I suppose people evolve and change throughout their lives, and the timing most certainly varies depending on the individual. But there seems to be a malaise, particularly among men in their “middle age” years. Perhaps the reason is that we are taught that by the time we are in our 40’s we should have everything “figured out”. But in the midst of a turbulent political landscape and an uncertain economy, many are finding themselves frustrated that this is not the case; things are not quite as dependable and secure as they were told it would be.
This does not have to be a time of frustration. It can be a time of exploration.
I invite folks to use this as an opportunity to learn more about themselves.
Yes, we have responsibilities- we are adults after all- but that does not mean we can’t keep growing and learning about ourselves. You might be surprised what you learn.
For example, I would have never, ever thought that one day I would be embarking on a 2nd career in ministry. Never! But here I am, months away from becoming a Vicar at a local Lutheran Church. In many ways, my professional life is only beginning at a time when my peers are advancing into senior positions.
But I guess that’s the point- we grow and develop at different points in our lives; in different seasons. But we should embrace- even invite- these opportunities.
Perhaps it is having a new teenager in the house (not a new kid— have mercy—a kid who just became a teenager; however, upon reflection these are not necessarily mutually exclusive). Those middle school years are filled with this existential search and journey toward identity. I’m doing my best to walk alongside him. In, doing so, it’s revealed to me that in some ways, we are on similar paths. Our identities are constantly evolving and changing.
Don’t resist it. Embrace it!
It can be incredibly exciting.
It needn’t be a career change. It can be simply exploring new areas of your personality or trying new things.
For example, I have always been afraid of guns. As a result, I decided I would conquer this fear and asked a neighbor if he would be willing to take me to a local shooting range. I was terrified for sure. But the experience was an invigorating and enlightening one. Not only was it an exciting adrenaline rush, but I also learned so much about guns and gun safety in a climate where so much misinformation is being spread for political gain. And I had fun. I would never have had this experience and grown in this way had I not opened myself up to a new experience.
And that is just one example. There are many. And each of you will have your own.
But my point is to invite you, maybe even challenge you, to choose something that has always scared you, excited you, or perhaps something you have always wondered about but never took the time to explore.
My guess is it will open doors you never imagined, and make your life that much richer as a result.
It’s never too late. Our lives are precious and far too short. So go for it.