My own perception of myself is that I am having an extended mid-life crisis, but I am doing my best to make it a healthy one. Up until about two years ago, I was a happily married attorney practicing law in a small Oklahoma town where 25 years before my wife and I had moved in order to raise our family. But then came the empty nest. The last of our four daughters went to college and my wife and I were left back at the ranch. I had really enjoyed being a Dad and their departure took away one of my principal and most cherished identities.
At the same time, I was growing increasingly dissatisfied with my career as an attorney. What had been exhilarating and challenging thirty years before had become routine and tasteless. It was troubling as I began to sense that my opponents had far more energy for the fight than I did.
But the worst part was that I began to be aware of my own mortality. Before I turned 50, I was, at least in my own mind, virtually invulnerable. But once I hit 50, it began to sink in that I was NOT immortal. Worse than that, I wasn’t even that important.
This was highly offensive to me. How could it possibly be that I was not a very important person? Such a notion was completely contrary to the perception that I had secretly nurtured for many years. Reality was now breaking in and shattering the greatly exaggerated assessment I had unconsciously and foolishly made of my own importance. I hate it when that happens!
Seeing this unpleasant truth was a help, but it did not resolve everything. Although my own inflated ego had been exposed, I still considered that a mid-life crisis is not an inherently bad thing. It merely indicates that we have begun to ask in earnest the question that all of us should have been asking all along: What is the meaning and purpose of our life? There is nothing wrong with the question. It is the answer we typically come up with that is problematic.
So I resolved not to be stereotypical. I would not go in search of a blonde and a convertible. (This decision was probably made easier by the fact that while the convertible was conceivably within my reach, the blonde was much less so and I have never cared much about cars). Determined to have a more healthy crisis, I and my wife have moved to Dallas, Texas where I am a full time seminary student in Dallas, Texas. My hope is to learn something worth sharing with others. Let’s see what I come up with.