Gifts That Never Expire

Sometimes words spew out of my mouth and I immediately wish life had an EDIT and DELETE button.

Sometimes… rarely… but sometimes, words fall out and I’m somewhat astonished at my own insight.

“There is no expiration date on participating in your own life.”

The above statement tumbled out recently as I posted in a private workout group about returning to regular exercise—encouraging both myself, and others, to ditch shame and/or regret and just move forward.

A lightbulb moment struck this summer when it dawned on me that my life isn’t happening TO ME… my life is happening WITH ME. I think midlife has a little something to do with my paradigm shift. Thirty-eight came in July, and with it the realization that nearly forty years have all but flashed before my eyes. Cliche. But it is REAL.

I KNOW the next forty will feel as if they are traveling at equal or greater speed. God willing, I’ll get more than eighty years, but friends… old age is a privilege denied to many.

Enter what I’m calling, ‘”My Midlife Crisis.” Perhaps hyperbole, but I’m prone to such.

There’s no real crisis here—existential, maybe. I’m healthy, mostly content with who I am, and grateful for the abundant blessings in my life. I do not possess a burning desire to suddenly purchase a sports car. BUT… the thought has occurred, “What am I doing with this life—this, you-only-get-one life, which is traveling at breakneck speed?”

Personally, I believe God is to credit (or blame — however you want to look at it) for instilling in each of us the passions which light our proverbial fire and make this crazy, brutal, beautiful life so damn… well… lit with magic and wonder.

I believe these gifts are NOT random. Or at least, they don’t have to be.

If we all derived motivation and worked to bring forth our passions, the world would be a better place—a freaking phenomenal place. Not because we all get excited about the same things. We don’t. But because people are better versions of themselves when they play to their passions, and are allowed to share themselves in this way with the rest of the world. And this, in my humble opinion, is exactly what was intended by The Big Guy when he gifted us with them.

SO… back to being almost forty.

There have been times (many of them) when the path of least resistance was an easier choice than following my passions.

Duh. I know—obvious. Not a particularly novel experience.

The reality is… life is complicated—unique, treasured… and f*ck*ng complicated. First, we are born into a life UNCHOSEN by us. Quite literally, where and to whom we are born is the first incredibly complicated consequence life throws our way. Then, we’re dished up a heaping plate of FREE WILL. Most of us have no problem digging into that smorgasbord. We mess up; make mistakes, or… we simply make choices, and we must live with the consequences. Furthermore, we lose, or… choose jobs, relationships, and loved ones, and we must live with those consequences, as well.

To clarify, I’m not implying consequences are inherently bad—they just are. And they cannot be ignored, no matter how hard we might try. We carry them with us as either a bag of tools, or a bag of dead weight.

I’ve decided it is a hell of a lot lot easier to literally and figuratively move forward carrying the former rather than the latter.

In my personal bag of tricks, strapped to my fused-pinned-and scarred-yet-strong back, I’ve discovered I carry not just baggage… but rather, I’m toting a set of special tools—made just for me.

Despite my ignoring their persistent presence, they remain functional—if in need of some maintenance—patiently waiting for me to get past worrying what other people might think of them, moving beyond what they look like, and at long last, notice… their intended usefulness. 

It’s taken nearly forty years, but I’ve taken notice. They are here—mine for the using, and mine for the sharing. Designed to light my way and my fire, moving forward.

So, friends, here’s to lightbulb moments, the privilege of age, and God’s apropos gifts that never expire.