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Sunday, July 24, 2011

My Next 30 Years

Cool. I had my 30th birthday a couple weeks back. So now what? Keep living like I have been? Pull a Tim McGraw and eat a few more salads and not stay up too late? Eh, I am looking for a little more perhaps.

There are a million things I'd like to do - but what is the one thing that really stands out?

I think after much thought that the thing that I really want to do over the next thirty birthdays is continue in my search for meaning and purpose. Not that my first most recent thirty have been meaning/purposeless - it's just that it took me nearly a quarter century to determine and begin to understand what the more important things are in life.

So yeah, where do I intend to go and how do I intend to accomplish this ongoing search? Well, I guess I can't be too sure, but there is a semi-dated yet pertinent example from the movie City Slickers that is worth reading. In the scene, Billy Crystal opens into a cynical monologue in front of his son's grade-school class about the mundane - the mundane that is so easy to let become a part of life -

"Value this time in your life, kids, because this is the time in your life when you still have your choices. It goes by fast. When you're a teenager, you think you can do anything and you do. Your twenties are a blur. Thirties you raise your family, you make a little money, and you think to yourself, "What happened to my twenties?" Forties, you grow a little pot belly, you grow another chin. The music starts to get too loud; one of your old girlfriends from high school becomes a grandmother. Fifties, you have a minor surgery -- you'll call it a procedure, but it's a surgery. Sixties, you'll have a major surgery, the music is still loud, but it doesn't matter because you can't hear it anyway. Seventies, you and the wife retire to Fort Lauderdale. You start eating dinner at 2:00 in the afternoon, you have lunch around 10:00, breakfast the night before, spend most of your time wandering around malls looking for the ultimate soft yogurt and muttering, "How come the kids don't call? How come the kids don't call?" The eighties, you'll have a major stroke, and you end up babbling with some Jamaican nurse who your wife can't stand, but who you call mama. Any questions?"

Comical, but here's to hoping that is the opposite of what I'm looking for. For, from my green 30-year old perspective, there seems to be very little meaning in that existence at all. As adequately describe above, chasing other people's dreams is a trip to dissatisfaction - and it certainly doesn't yield an understanding of life's meaning and personal purpose.

Throughout the reading years of my life-time I have come across some shorter quotations that that do describe the meaning which I think I'm looking for -

- "In these bodies we will live, and in these bodies we will die, but where you invest your love is where you invest your life!" - Mumford and Sons band

- "There is nothing in the world that would so effectively help one to survive even the worst of conditions, as the knowledge that there is a meaning in one's life... For he who has a why to live can bear almost any how." - Victor Frankl

- "There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning." - Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey

- "We'll all be forgotten anyway, so we might as well be effective... and the only thing that finally matters is to be effective in the way we love." - Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia

Yeah, that should be it - a big investment in love. Just like my boy J.C., simply the best example there is of living a life of simple, practical love - I want to continue to expand my understanding and practice of a love that is ever expanding... "that is always patient, always kind, and never boastful."

If I do that, I hope to instead of "find(ing) a world of happiness without the hate and fear" that Tim McGraw describe, I'll help create one.

As always, thanks for reading :)

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