Updated: Mar 13, 2019
I had heard about this thing called a "midlife crisis". For years I'd been hearing this phrase, even as a boy. It never became personal to me until someone suggested that it was the 'thing' that led me to buy a big red pickup truck? Was that part of it? The messages I had heard throughout my masculine journey seemed to suggest there might be a sudden crisis ahead and that I would be caught up in this crisis before I really knew what was happening. The realisation of this 'crisis' in me didn't come that way - quickly yes, but I had time to process it, I still am processing it.
How did I get here, was the first question. I seem to be in it now! Had it been the gradual increase in aches and pains over recent years? Was it a subtle shift in the way younger people (there appeared to be more of them all of a sudden!) related to me, spoke to me. I know I became more aware of the beauty of the young and vitality of the young and I now seemed to be outside of that category. It certainly has crept up on me, but weirdly there is also something sudden about it all.
I don't feel older, thats the funny thing, not older in a spiritual or emotional sense. But I was stuck somehow and i felt that some adjustment was in order. At first it felt that the adjustment needed to be a renewed pursuit of the old things - adventures past, a recall of, or return to; the things that used to make me come alive. It doesn't work - the truth is that i am not the same. Something has shifted! Some other kind of adjustment is in order!
This adjustment in my vision of my life needn't be resignation. The lust for adventure is still there. I pressed on, am pressing on. As I press on, sometimes wrestling - I am slowly becoming aware that I have have a strength and something to bestow.
The shift - is a shift from consumer of life - to bestower. Bestow what? Well at 49, I have lived some years, learned some things, fought and lost many battles, won some. I have a story I can tell. I am still in my story but I have an authority from my story. I can bestow strength, encouragement and nurture.
That is my simple way of describing the choice before us. The 'Crisis' is the way-marker, the 'HALT" sign. There is a way to becoming the King and then the Sage. The new adventure awaits and it has all of the spirit and all of the adventure contained within it - in bestowing strength, raising warriors and defending the weak. I can find my heart here, I can have purpose here!
There is also another path that presents itself at this HALT sign - to continue to 'consume', to feed the lust for adventure in other ways - by attempting to re-walk my old path. This way is marked by the burned out vehicles of exhaustion and the debris of affairs and debt and loss. A path of adventure promised but which never delivers! How could it deliver? I am not the same person as I once was. I need to accept that - and that its ok to accept that.
By God's grace and redemptive power - the "midlife crisis" need only last as long as we ignore the the fact that we are not the same and to embrace that its going to be different here on in. Its not too late. There may be collateral damage already sustained from trying to salvage our youth - but it's not too late men, we can turn and journey into the best years!