Reflections On My Birthday – Answers and Allies

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March is in the running for best month of the year.  Why?

March Madness, which would promptly become a Federal Holiday if I were king. 

The beginning of warmer spring days. 

My birthday. 

This year I turn 35, which seems surprising.  It makes the label ‘Early Thirties’ officially untrue.  It means that I am mid-decade and headed towards 40.  That’s not old, if you’re 40 or older.  But when you’re used to being in your ‘early thirties’ it does feel like unfamiliar territory.  I’m used to being the young guy in most of my circles, but I just interviewed someone who was closer to my daughter’s age than to mine.  That is a new milestone!

I don’t know if you 35-45 year old guys have noticed this or not, but I think I am officially entering a new phase in life.  I am still trying to put my finger directly on it.  I can’t even put it into words, which annoys me since I normally play the role of ‘wordsmith.’  But it definitely feels like a new phase.  A transition like the one from college to career.  There is an unsettled feeling.  A vague discomfort like when you can’t tell if you are hungry or if you are coming down with a stomach bug.  It’s as if I’ve gotten a few hundred miles out of town and the low fuel light just came on.  I feel as if what got me here won’t get me where I need to go.  Can any of you relate? 

It seems like I am asking (or should be asking) questions like these:

1.)    What am I passionate about? What was I passionate about 15 years ago? Am I still passionate about that? Or has it changed.

2.)    Have I reached my goals?  If so, now what?

3.)    Am I setting my family up for a successful future?

4.)    Is what I am doing now really what I want to be doing for the rest of my life?

5.)    Do I know who I am?

6.)    Am I passionate about God? Do I seek Him or am I coasting?

7.)    Why do I feel unsettled when everything is actually fine?

8.)    What adventure am I currently living? What am I trying to conquer?

9.)    What interests do I have? Am I pursuing them?

10.) Do I have what it takes?

I am not a touchy-feely person.  I am analytical and logical, to a fault.  I do not really enjoy all of these shifty emotions, so my natural inclination is to push.  Push them down and push on harder and faster.  But something tells me that these are symptoms of a deeper disease that should be treated by a Physician.  I need answers.

And I also sense that I’m not alone.  In my circle of friends I know several guys who have already made or are considering making massive career changes, going back to school, or just in a funk.  Again, there is no tragedy or trauma – just irritation. I’ve also seen the wreckage caused when these symptoms have been ignored by other men and the disease finally breaks out of control at 45 to 55 years of age.  So I know that I’m not the only one.  We need allies.

I do not normally enjoy self-disclosure of this kind, and perhaps neither do you.  To be honest, I’m not looking for sympathy.  But I am sharing these less-positive-than-usual thoughts for two reasons:

I’m looking for answers.

I’m looking for allies.

Join Me On My Quest!

If you are currently in the same situation as I am, please leave a comment below or click on the Contact Us tab above to let me know.  If you know a dude who is in this phase of life, please let him know about my quest for answers and allies.  No one really wants to go it alone.  And by all means, if you have already found an answer or two to these questions, please share!  I am planning to share as many answers as I can find over the next few months.

 Mid-Life Transition Series:

OPL: Mid-Life 2- X Marks the Spot

OPL: Mid-Life Series 3 – From Duty to Desire and Devotion

OPL:  Mid-Life 4 – Tower of Babel or Excavation

OPL: Mid-Life 5 – Weary Warrior

OPL: Mid-Life 6 – Pleasure

OPL: Mid-Life 7 – You Need Nathan

OPL: Mid-Life 8 – Shame, Validation, and Identity

OPL: Mid-Life 9 – Halftime

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