I’m 46 years old, so of course I’m following this post with great interest. Middle age is a season of life that none of us think about in our grand life plans. We think about starting out, and what steps we need to take to secure a good home, family, and career life. We think about preparing for retirement. But middle age is that elusive wasteland of daily monotony where we’re at the plateau of adult life. You’re either on your way or you missed the mark. Either way, it seems a desert where you wander aimlessly until the magical day of retirement occurs.
No wonder people in their 40’s to 60’s report the lowest life satisfaction of all age groups. It’s on us to keep the world turning, but there’s little reward for it until we’ve done our time and can clock out. Add increasing life responsibilities: home, health, and family issues related to age and circumstances and increasing work demands, and it’s no wonder middle age people see-saw between grim acceptance and humor that maybe we’ll die one day and get off the merry-go-round.
My Granddaddy used to say “don’t waste your life away, because someday you’ll wish you had all of that time back.” I believe it, especially after seeing the way that COVID demolishes and is remaking the world over the past couple of years. There has to be a better way. Two decades of life is far too long to grind out, wishing for a future that we assume much about and yet have no way of knowing if it will meet our expectations. What’s more, it seems that the jaded cynicism is seeping into younger generations. There’s a lot of anger and confusion in the world right now. We need visionaries to show us a better way.
No, correction. We need to be the visionaries. Somewhere along the way, either through two years of COVID crisis or mid-life weariness, we’ve lost our capacity to imagine better ways. We’ve lost our energy to establish goals, and work toward a new future. We’ve lost our hope. This simply won’t do, and I think this is a time where those in the middle can show others a better way. We’re old enough to know better, and still enough in our prime to do something about it. We need to be the light. We need to be the visionaries that the world needs to find that “new normal” that everybody is longing for. We need to find our enthusiasm, mine our wisdom, and be assertive in lighting a new path for a new future.
I heard several people say yesterday that Elon Musk buying Twitter is the small ripple that could trigger a change. You don’t have to be a multi-billionaire buying a company to do that. It may be one current steering the ship, but the truth is that true change will come from each and every one of us being bold in accepting our truth, making wise decisions, and living respectful, authentic lives each and every day. Change comes from each and every one of us getting up in the morning, doing their best, and living their calling every day.
The most popular reply to that post as of last night was to give up the weight of other peoples’ opinions and walk in your own light. If only we’d actually do that. I think I’d build on that by advising my middle-age companions to return to now. Embrace better thinking to achieve a higher level of living to fulfil your purpose and overcome a shallow, sad world. Overcome the grief of a past lost and embrace the opportunity of a new future. Resume pursuing your goals or, if that’s no longer possible, find new ones. C.S. Lewis said it’s never too late to dream a new dream, so dream again. Find your place. Be bold and assertive in living by your priorities and authentic truth.
I recently read a quote in The Witcher: Blood of Elves that sums up the state of the world: "Chaos is afraid of you -- but it wants you to be the one who feels the fear." Turn it around to the truth and walk unapologetically into the light. Others can follow you or they can stay stuck: it’s their choice. Some people are alright with their desert, and we have no right to disturb that. Leave them in peace and move forward in alignment with your own light. Don't accept the fear of chaos that isn't yours anyway. Choose better, and confidently move forward in love, joy, and hope.
That’s all today. Take care, and have a great week.