Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Refusing to give in to the mid-life crisis.

I'm pretty sure I'm flirting with a mid-life crisis. Maybe.

I didn't think I was the type.

I have enjoyed every age. I loved turning 30. It felt like that was the age of a real grown up. Someone mature. Married. Kids. No longer sleeping in. Or going out when all of the sensible people were going home. Eating well. Exercising. Nine years later and I continue to feel like an impostor - when will someone notice that I am not old enough (I still feel like I am 25) nor mature enough to parent four children, one of whom will be a teenager before I spin around!

Suddenly 40 is looming. The months can be counted on one hand. And that seems exciting too - another new stage of life. The four boys will all be in school and we are experiencing life in another country. Somehow my body is holding up so that I am fitter than when I was 30. We have opportunity to travel as a family. I'm learning a new language. And perhaps I'll finally gain some of that maturity I thought I would receive by the very process of turning 30. Hhhhmmm...

So what exactly am I troubled by?

It's not because my son said to me today, "Mum, if I peeled off all of my skin I would look as old as you."Though hilarious, not that. I'm okay with the wrinkles appearing, the grey hairs increasing. What, then?

The cliched questions...

What have I achieved? What am I going to achieve? Am I doing anything of significance? Am I doing any of it well? What do I want to do? Is there time? Are my priorities all wrong? My son is almost two thirds toward being an adult - is he going to like me when he is older?  What stories will be recited when he says "I remember when you did - or didn't do - blah blah blah". Oh and there will be stories! Will my four boys be different (in a good way!) because I stayed at home with them, or could I have worked every day for the same result?

I look around me and see others doing well. Particularly in their careers. They have continued to work, to progress. I haven't worked for five years. Okay, I have WORKED! I haven't been PAID for five years. My confidence has decreased. Is it irreparable? Surely I need to work to pay for hideously expensive education for our boys. But will I ever be able to attain a position that is equitable with my (previous) skills and education and, more importantly, my passions? And the bigger question, will it pay enough?

And what of my life right now? I find myself patting myself on the back because I don't have a nanny. People here are in awe of me - seriously! Many ex-pats here have a nanny for EACH child!!! And we even clear the table and rinse our dishes. Goodness, we could agree that I am doing it pretty tough? The fact that I don't clean, or wash, and that I feel pretty special when I go to the trouble of cooking a few times a week... 

After living such a hectic life for the past ten years, a gaping void has been exposed with so much of the busyness suddenly removed.

Where is the substance? It can't be found in the malls. And there are MALLS!!!! Designer handbag anyone? Or found in the massages, the pedicures (okay, you're right, maybe just a little there...).  Not on the running track or pool, though I love it. Nor in the conversations where people talk about how inept their staff are (I love mine!), how expensive wine & cheese are (I think that  was me), or what their latest travel plans are. Though fun, also mostly trivial.

It's not enough. Only one word gives everything meaning.


I don't want to waste this very brief life doing things that don't matter. That don't mean anything beyond this life. The old saying about no one saying on their death bed that they wished they had spent more time at the office? Whilst true I am sure, it's more than that. Much more.

"He must become greater, I must become less." John 3:30

His glory.

"Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31

Good deeds. His deeds. 

"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10

Good plans. His plans.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."

Fruit. From him. For him.

"This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples." John 15:8

You see, perhaps  a mid-life crisis should be renamed...'opportunity to reflect on direction & priorities' - you're right, not particularly catchy. I know that I am going to die sooner than 10 years ago. And so are you. Who knows how many days you or I will walk this earth? Every day is one chosen for you by God, and an opportunity to fulfill our purposes exists. 

But when you open your eyes each morning, is that what you are thinking?

Or is it "I need to make lunches." "Does he have library or swimming today?" "I really should have gone to bed earlier." "No exercise for me, I'm hitting that snooze button."

Because that is not the way we want to start the day. If it's anything other than, "What do you have for me today, God?" you are missing an opportunity to serve the creator of the universe. Every moment spent, is gone. Forever. Closer to death.  You have less time here than you did when you started reading this blog. May you use your life wisely. Make it count. 

Go ahead. Have your own mid-life crisis! And change some priorities. How much of what takes up your time is ultimately meaningless? 

This life will be gone. Soon. And you will give account for your choices. I once heard that the weight of a coffin is in the regrets. Don't make yours heavy.

93: Celebrating a living God.
94: Good deeds, prepared for me in advance to do.
95: Good plans.
96: Purpose.
97: Forgiveness for choosing badly. Often.
98: A God who speaks. Giving direction.
99: Knees that can still run.
100: One great man, and four boy blessings, providing purpose enough.


  1. Wow! I'm more than a little challenged! Awesome Blog!

  2. my coffin is currently at about 368 tonnes. :-(
    Such a relevant blog, Pauline. Really thinking these things as i return to Australia (so soon), and will TRY to get my first career(!). i feel pretty pathetic about that. -especially as i have nothing to show for the lack of it [like a partner, or beautiful family/kids etc]. Hmmm.

  3. I'm sorry to hear you feeling like that Scotty. Jesus didn't have much of a career, he was homeless, and he didn't have a family. Although it is incredibly hard, we need to not view 'success' according to the world's terms. Not easy. But each day IS a new day to serve Him - I really believe that! x