Just a Few Thoughts for Today

I have been in a contemplative mood ever since Wednesday evening and night when I drove Desiree back up to Lewisburg after she had spent a few days with me. On the way up we listened to the music she likes on my iPod, and on the way back I listened to several episodes of “Selected Shorts,” and thought about my life.

On November 9th, I will turn 48 years old. It is hard for me to imagine that I am actually that old. I guess everybody has a mental image of who they are, and for me that image is of a much younger Will Humes . . . the Will Humes of my college days at Eastern Kentucky University, for example. It is amazing to me that those days are so long ago now, and that this year will also mark the 30th reunion of my High School graduation. Where does the time go?

In fact, my lovely daughter Desiree will be graduating from High School in less than two years now (the Class of 2011), and though my body sometimes tells me otherwise, I do not feel my age. I am older now than when my parents divorced. I have less than 20 years before I retire, and (if life expectancy tables are to be believed), I have much less life left to live than I have already lived.

Shouldn’t I have done more with my life by now? Is this all there is? Or to quote the title of one of my favorite movies, is this “as good as it gets?” I had a t-shirt for several years that I loved (but which my daughter hated for obvious reasons, which read “This is not the life I ordered.” And on many days . . . too many days . . . that is exactly how I feel.

Of course, I realize that most people have these feelings. And I also realize that I am past due for a mid-life crisis of sorts. But still . . .

I came across a quote from Howard Thurman recently that has been playing around in and with my mind. Thurman once said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Is it selfish to do what “makes you come alive” as Thurman puts it? And further, what exactly would that be for me? After all, some days I feel barely alive at all. Is this how the rest of my limited life will be lived?

I hope not, but in order for this not to be the case, I need to discover or rediscover what makes me alive, and then I need the courage to do it. Ah, there’s the rub.

Well, I have rambled on quite enough already. What do you, my gentle readers, think . . . all five of you, that is? I would really like to know.

-Will

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9 thoughts on “Just a Few Thoughts for Today

  1. This was interesting to me because in so many way I been feel some of the same things. I have been this way for over 1 year now. I ,m 57 and what have i done with my life lately.
    I been think what make me feel alive and what should I do to find out. I do no one think is when I was doing logo with the children and helping lunches on Friday this made feel alive because as helping other people. Also I was happy doing this things. The I need me take bull by horn an just do it!.I know i would like to more of this thing and also visit the shut in . This might be a start for me of rediscover what make feel alive. My passion is helping people but doesn’t set well with Carl. I have not been so down in years.

  2. I found it impossible to pursue my real loves and still support a family and put two kids through college.

    Of course, considering my personality, I think it’s learning itself that makes me happy. By the time I can do something well, I’m bored with it and ready to move on.

    So, I ended up pursuing my love outside of work. I’m happiest now that I’m retired because that’s all I have to do. I’m pretty sure I would have been quite unhappy if I hadn’t fulfilled my family obligations first, though.

  3. I remember feeling like that when I was 50! I wrote a poem about it, though I didn’t keep it. Take heart all of you 50 year olds because when I was 80 I was encouraged to write and publish an article headed ‘Life Begins at 80!’ Eight years later I am still finding new things to do and new challenges that fit my current health and life-style. Christ has so much work for us all to do and, if we put ourselves in his hands, life continues to be exciting and fulfilling. You have plenty of time yet to discover this!

  4. I sometimes feel that way . i think is this all there is work, clean, and teenagers? and I am only 44. Like you I

    am already looking toward retirement. MY aunt joyce once said to me, janet don’t wish your life away. she was right it goes too fast when your not looking. enjoy today for who knows what tomorrow will bring

  5. In reading your blog yesterday I was caught by the notion of being selfish for “coming alive.” So often, we opt out of the desired change in order to keep others happy by calling healthy choices selfish. In the end we prevent new growth in the ones we love or work alongside because we loathe their unhappiness. New growth or “coming alive” brings some measure of selfishness and uncomfort, and yet in the end we have the hope of uncovering the self that God intended (is it obvious I’m working with James this week?) The ideal of Christian perfection compels us to at least consider the joy of “coming alive” throughout our life cycles. Perhaps this is the perfect time for an angel to show and tell you “Fear Not” —inspire terror and set you awakening. Any hoo, these thoughts were very close to a good cup of coffee and the day is begun.

  6. very lovely interesting comments. I find God uses everything for our growth. I came across a phrase ‘sometimes God blesses us with crosses’ i.e. he uses our boredom, angst, pain or whatever as growing times. I have seen my adult children suffer so much and then after they have grown into much better people and so God has clearly shown me the wisdom of this phrase. So use your angst, put yourself at Gods’ disposal and He will use you for His purpose. x

  7. Hey Will,

    I completely understand the way you feel, reading the comments I suppose it’s not uncommon. But, maybe things get better. I don’t know how to make a living with what makes me come alive either, so that quote always sounds good, but like many such things, isn’t much practical help. Anyway, you have lifted my spirits this past year with your writing, things you have shared, and some emails. It may not seem like much, but that is pretty important in this world. I’ll lift you up in prayer.

  8. very lovely interesting comments. I find God uses everything for our growth. I came across a phrase “sometimes God blesses us with crosses” i.e. he uses our boredom, angst, pain or whatever as growing times. I have seen mg adult children suffer so much and then after they have grown in6o much better people and so God has clearly shown me the wisdom of this phrase. So use your angst, put yourself at Gods' disposal and He will use you for His purpose. x;

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