As the third decade of my life rapidly comes to a close, I’m faced with the same question I had at the end of my second decade: “What was I supposed to be doing again?”
Should I feel guilty that my twenties haven’t produced some meteoric trajectory for my life? I mean, I haven’t found a cure for cancer, solved the economic quandaries of our age or ended world hunger.
I’m not talking about a discontentment with my job. I’m talking about this notion that something was supposed to happen in my twenties. This American ideal that pretentiousness is deserved for those who earned it.
As my friend, John Zimmer reminded us recently at a parenting workshop, there does come a time where our children must accept responsibility for their own choices. My teenage years were racked with some pretty dumb choices but my license to fail didn’t make me an Einstein by 19 either.
In fact, my twenties became a seed-bed for testing how far I could stretch my ideologies and actions. The result…well, just call me King Solomon. He said vanity, I say selfishness and narcissism. The last 10 years have been called “A Lost Decade“. I can concur.
In the mix of all this forming and norming, I can no longer hide behind my adolescence. My teenage years bred this false sense of security as I entered the twenties. I told myself that life was in the doing – harder, better, faster, and stronger. That if I worked hard enough at anything, I could see it accomplished, even something like a cure for cancer.
Now, these roaring twenties have brought a new level of reality. That I’m frail. I’m sensitive. I’m imperfect. I’m broken.
Now, these roaring twenties have bred another sense of purpose for me. That life is in the being, the abiding, the loving, the obeying.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have visions of grandeur: the Riviera, the grand canyon, exploring space and all those boyhood dreams. In fact, I’m confident the best is yet ahead. I won’t let the mistakes of the last decade skew my optimism for the next.
What I will do is wrap my confidence, calling and vocation around the hope of the Cross. Here’s to the next decade and here’s to more stretching.