I’m Turning 49 and That’s Okay

Scant minutes from now, I will turn 49 years old.  It’s been an interesting year.  Last year at this time I published a to-do list for the year–49 things, I believe–and I haven’t done them all.  Not getting things done is a bit difficult sometimes–I guess it tempts me to dwell on thoughts of failure, although not too seriously.

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Even my cat is facing the future

I did have a short season this past year where I really did find myself struggling with thoughts of being a failure.  It was just a few months ago, when I received a pretty severe medical warning about diabetes–type 2 to be specific, which is largely influenced by lifestyle choices, such as poor diet and lack of exercise.  It challenged me to make some fairly strong changes in those areas, but I also found myself thinking things like, “Well, what’s been the point of my life?  What have I actually accomplished?”

I was aware, even then, that these thoughts were disproportionate and inappropriate…that even if I did turn out to have this disease that it doesn’t mean that my life up to that point had served no purpose, nor that my life from then on would serve no purpose.  And I was aware that my actual suffering was almost non-existent.  I wasn’t taking medication or experiencing a bunch of symptoms.  Rather I just started eating a lot more vegetables and a lot less dessert–hardly anything to complain about.

Looking back on it I think that really what was happening was just that I was having a much greater sense and awareness of my own mortality.  I was 48–nearly 49–and my life was getting on.  The year had had some rough patches, including my dad declining in health and eventually passing away.  And there were so many things that I hadn’t done, and so many other things that I had done but not done well.

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A lot of that is still true…after all, it’s only been a couple of months since then.  And as I type this it’s only about 30 minutes until my birthday!  There are a lot of stories I haven’t written, movies I haven’t made, projects I haven’t completed, places I haven’t been to, missionary initiatives I haven’t started or completed…the list goes on and on.

But yet, truth be told, I love my life.  I have a beautiful family; I have many friends and a number of rich relationships; I love my Lord & God and am completely confident that he is loving and holy and infinite and personal; and I’m firmly convinced that I am living my divine calling.  I want to live it better, to be sure, but I am where I’m supposed to be doing what I’m supposed to be doing.

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So I need to remember that, to bring that back to memory on a regular basis, while at the same time being open to stepping out further and pursuing the things I am passionate about, even as I let God bring shape to those passions within me.  I firmly believe that we should not only chase our passions, but we should allow God to help make us passionate about the things that really matter.  And I need to grow in both of those categories.

In the coming months I’m looking forward to going on an outreach to south Asia, to make a film that shares God’s truth with a needy nation.  I’m planning on pioneering a series of media-focused seminars to train missionaries and prospective missionaries to do creative work with photography, dramatic film and documentary storytelling.  I’m going to the United States for a week to finish the process of farewelling my father, who died last year.  I’m going to see my one daughter learn how to drive and finish her year 11 exams.  I’m going to help my other daughter learn how to write and also stand with her as she faces a probably Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis.  I’m going to watch my other other daughter step out in her dream of acting in plays with other young people.

And I’m also going to play some games and do some escape rooms and watch some movies, and hopefully continue to lose weight thanks to all the extra salad I’m eating.  And if all goes well I’m going to make a short film about a talking coffee cup!

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More on that is coming, to be sure.

All that to say, there is going to be a lot of good and a lot of tough, a lot of laughter and probably a bunch of tears.  And it’s all, I trust, going to be worth it.

Incidentally, that strange picture of that guy looking really freaked out?  That’s me, from a video I produced that was used in a local Escape Room game that I helped to write.  That’s pretty cool, right?

Happy Birthday to me!  Here it comes…!

And happy day to you.

One thought on “I’m Turning 49 and That’s Okay

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