I don’t like to say that I’m in my “late” thirties. If I calculate my age correctly, I’m just about half-way to where a lot of my older family members are now. But, I don’t want to view the glass of life as half-over, so I’m going to view it as a sports game: going into the second half to win! It’s all about perspective: finding the joy and the peace in the midst of everything.
After having numerous discussions with my spouse, I realize that I’m not the only one who deals with the whole mid-life issue. First of all, it shouldn’t be a crisis. It’s just a period of time; it’s a season of reflection and evaluation. Second, it should be a blessing that we’ve made it this far! We survived the awkward teen years; we stumbled through the transition of college and early 20-somethings. And, if we are blessed enough to have children during the roaring 20s, we are well on our way toward seeing the light at the end of our training ground tunnel. Still, a lot of folks hit the mark of mid-life and begin to panic.
What if I haven’t done it right? What if I made the wrong decision for this life choice? What if, what if, what if… This time in our lives shouldn’t be faced in fear. Yes, the future is unknown, but the path ahead has been paved by the friends and family who have gone before us. Someone we know, who is older and wiser, should be able to look back at us, take our hand, and say that it’s all going to be okay.
I think that a lot of men suffer from the MLM (mid-life man) syndrome more than their counterpart female companions. They start to reach the point where they question their place in this world. They question the choices they have made. They question the path they have chosen (or “settled for”). They begin to face the future with doubt. They create a fear inside of them that causes great insecurity. They feel like they are tossed like a leaf in the wind.
The answer to this great mid-life mystery does not lie with fear. As a lay writer I do not have all of the answers. I can only speak from my own experience. I only know how to navigate the waters I tread based on the wisdom I have gathered from the trials, errors, and small successes in my half-lived life.
One of the first things I would recommend is to find your purpose. Ask yourself, “Why am I here?” “What are my unique qualities that I bring to this planet to make a difference?” Second, I would take some time to reflect on where you have been. Start in your childhood memories – good or bad or both. Smile at the good ones, and do everything you can to forgive those who made the bad ones. You may have to forgive yourself, too.
Third, start planning out the second half of your life. Write down your short term goals (aka… be debt free in 3 years, lose 20 pounds in the next 5 months). Write down some long-term goals (aka… travel to Europe, finish that college degree). There are countless ideals, dreams, and pursuits that can be attained into reality if you really want to make a difference.
One more thing, try to remember that you are writing a new sentence to your life resume’ each day that you live, so that you will have a full legacy at the end. We are only guaranteed 120 years to make a difference. Most of us won’t even make it to 100 years. My grandfather lived to the ripe old age of 99 years. I heard it’s because he lived on a diet of fresh fish and rice. Not too shabby of a life, even though he lived through World War 1, The Great Depression, World War 2, and so on. He is resting in peace, and it’s because he was determined to have the best life he knew how to live.
May the second half of your life be better than the first half. You have the experience, and you have the knowledge. Apply both and you will gain wisdom beyond your years. Blessings to all who read this and find encouragement.