Monday, January 2, 2012

The 50-yard Line of Life

Many boomer men are thinking about/obsessed with making a mark with their lives. They wake up on their 50th birthday and realize they’re first-and-ten and less than fifty yards from the end zone. Pass or run?

Some hit a mid-life crisis of sorts, with the stereotypical red sports car, girlfriend half their age, career change, etc. The rest of us just think about the future and the meaning of life. Also typical, I guess. Nobody knows the meaning of life but some of us want to find meaning and purpose in our own lives.

That might be part of why I am on the verge of big changes in my own life. I see the end zone but I think a lot still is ahead in the next forty or fifty yards. I want to do something important; I want to have a positive impact on other people’s lives, strangers as well as friends. Most of all I want to be remembered. I want someone to miss me when I’m gone.

Bucket lists come out of this kind of thought process. I commented on mine in a recent post but the list is longer than what’s in that post. I have accomplished a lot in my career, for example, but I want to revisit some of my earlier goals with the current overlay of experience. In the ‘help people’ area, I made a promise to myself twenty years ago while in a hospital unable to walk due to the injury that landed me there: do volunteer work relating to mobility. I haven’t done that yet. On the bucket list.

There is also the ‘live for today’ aspect of boomerdom. Life is short so why wait so long for things?

And there is the “A Christmas Carol” effect. A dear friend asked me recently why I love that play so much. Basically it is the renewal aspect of the plot … the main character used to be fun, caring, selfless but he let life turn him bitter. After the ghosts visit he realizes this and begins to live life again. I have let things get in the way of activities I used to enjoy: running, biking, dancing, to name three. I am not bitter but I definitely hold back when it comes to having fun. Time to stop holding back.

I have more to say on this topic, but for now I’ll sum this up with a line from the movie Shawshank Redemption: It comes down to a simple choice, get busy living or get busy dying.

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