A few days ago I wrote about a kind of mid-life crisis I've been having. Questioning what I've done with my life so far and the value of what I've accomplished.
In the days since I've been confronted again and again with little reminders about the other side of that coin. The comment posted on the first post, an e-mail, a message in the parish newsletter and last but certainly not least my rector's sermon today! With the exception of the comment none of them were direct responses to the post.
Coincidence? Or is someone up there trying to tell me something? Hmmmmmmmm.
So just to make sure that you don't think that I believe my life to be an utter waste and desolation let me talk about the positives in my life:
My wife. My friend, wife, partner, soul mate and advisor for over 30 years. We've gone through diagnoses of 3 chronic illnesses, one chronic condition, viral meningitis, several massive infections, two hip replacements, two periods of unemployment, a child born 2.5 months premature followed by 20 years of parenthood. We've lived in three different areas but have moved 8 times in 26 years. At the end of it we're still madly (my daughter would say nauseatingly) in love with each other.
I count that as a success(especially given my generations overall track record. In which case it's a world class success)
My daughter. Let's see. She's smarter than I am, more talented than I am, she's funny and articulate and brave. She's travelled more widely than I did at that age (or any age until very recently). The kid has been a wonderful child and is turning into a great adult who I hope will be my friend. Apparently my parenting skills are not so wretched that I screwed her up. Count that as a success.
Career - I've been blessed that with two careers at which I've had success. It's been my honor to work at things I care passionately about. For over 19 years I was a radio personality. Most of that time I was the morning man (at two different stations). I also wrote copy and did the news, recorded spots, chose music, did sports play by play and color, had my own talk show for a year, was the afternoon drive show three times and finished up in management. I worked hard, tried to be fair and gave my best every day. After that career ended I went to work as a youth minister. While I haven't succeeded at everything I've wanted to I'm not ashamed of what we've done. I've seen God move in the lives of my young people and I've had some small part in that process. I was able (with the help of some other gifted youth ministers) to re-start the youth ministry network in my province. I've worked at the local, diocesan, provincial and national level of my church and been respected at each one. Most of the people I've worked with have been sorry to see me leave.
I'm a pretty good photographer, a fair writer, not a bad singer. I'm learning to play guitar (oh so slowly!). I've biked up to 50 miles in a day after I was 40 years old (I'll do 42 more a week from today). I can fix things around the house that don't need to be re-fixed. I've designed theater scenery and built it. I've been the lead in a variety of stage plays over the years and done supporting roles too. They cheered at the end each time. I've learned something new every year of my life and there's no plan to stop that.
As my commenter(who I'm pretty sure is my brother) said I've had some adventures, things I'd never willingly give up. Not for just about anything. And I'm not dead yet.
I'm hard on myself. Always have been. At my last job review a couple years back I was marked down in only one area "Sets goals too high". My motto has always been "Good Enough, Isn't". I doubt that's going to change. God has given me gifts. I don't want to be the guy who buries his treasure to keep it safe only to have God say "But you were supposed to make it grow, stupid".
My parents always told me they were proud of me. That was important. I never wanted to let them down. I still don't. I don't want to let my brothers and the rest of my family down, I don't want to let my wife and daughter down. I don't want to let my friends down. I want them all to be proud to know me.
And yes I don't want to let God down. I want him to be proud of me too.
I'm afraid I'm stuck with my own high expectations. But it's good to remember that this has been a good life. That I've done things I can be proud of. That other people think well of me.
And that'll do.
For the moment. LOL!