I’m getting to be a weird age.
My sister messaged me last night just as I was about to fall asleep… “Did you know Justin Duckworth?”
Did you know. Past tense. Another one bites the dust. Justin was always a crazy fun guy and a natural focus for whatever was happening. Only a year or two ahead of me and while I wouldn’t say we were close, we certainly knew each other and ran in similar Youth For Christ circles for a while back in university days. Very bright. Trademark bare feet.
I messaged her back that yes indeed I knew him. It’s been nearly twenty years since I saw him last, but I was saddened.
Thanks to the time difference between here and New Zealand, this morning when I woke up I had no reply from her. Oh a whim I Googled him to see if I could find out anything more.
Oh. My. God.
He didn’t die… they just made him Bishop.
Obviously we no longer believe the same things, but I’m actually very pleased for him. He was extremely unbishopy back in the day, and by general agreement was chosen to be Bishop because of his lack of being bishopy. He appears to have bare feet in his ordination photos and the silly bishop hat looks somewhat out of place on top of dreadlocks. But he looks happy, so I’m happy for him. I think he’ll be great in his position too.
But it’s also kind of funny seeing one of us arrive at a position of importance too. We were all young once and now we have these jobs and lives involving kids in high school. Somehow we got to be middle aged. Somehow we went from me being age 21 and meeting an age 18 Jennifer for the first time… she wore a blue and white dress… to getting married at 24 and 22… and now we’re 42 and 39. It’s been a very long time.
Neither one of us has changed, we’re still the same Athol and same Jennifer we always were. I’m tall, she’s short. I’m smart and funny, she giggles and is very sweet tempered. We’re both introverts. We both care a great deal about doing the right thing and that other people are helped. We really haven’t changed a bit… except that we’ve done two decades of activities and learned stuff along the way, we’ve taken on some responsibilities too. We became parents and homeowners, we had careers. We traveled a few places too.
So while we are exactly the same as we’ve always been, a lot of the content of our lives has changed. I’ve mentioned a few times before on the blog that once upon a time my faith was extremely important to me, and I was very seriously considering the road toward becoming a minster. I’ve always liked helping people, I love teaching, I always loved making people think about how to live. I’m acutely aware how pastoral in nature MMSL is, it’s just not religiously based. If you shut your eyes for a minute, can’t you hear me all but preaching the gospel of the Red Pill?
I’m still the same person, just the content of my life has changed.
So let’s talk about you now.
One of the things I did in yesterday’s post was encourage you to do the same things that you originally did to attract your wife to you. One of the comments was to the effect of “well I was in a grunge band, that really did work to attract her back them, but I can’t do that now, and I don’t know if it would even work if I did it anyway.”
I hear you. But what if the content of your life was “being in a grunge band”, but what you were about was simply “music”?
Do you still go to concerts? Do you still practice your instrument? Do you still get excited about various bands releasing new albums? You may not play grunge anymore, but maybe you could be forming a group and playing something, somewhere, sometime. Maybe you can record your own music and put it on Amazon, or have a blog and have it downloadable or whatever. Maybe you can teach music lessons. It may not matter what you do around music one little bit, you just need to be doing something passionate in your life to energize and engage you. Maybe it wasn’t being in a grunge band that did it for her. Maybe it was the way you looked so vibrant when you were playing that did it for her. Maybe when the music died, you died a little too.
It’s the same with sports. If you’re 42 you can’t re-live the glory days of that one perfect touchdown forever. You can however stay in shape. You can throw a football around with the kids. You can get excited and follow a team. You can coach little league. You can play in a masters soccer league. You can switch sports and learn golf. Hell even a bowling league is better than sitting at home every day and gaining ten pounds every year since you graduated high school.
My father was a racer. He raced cars before I was born and a little after, then he raced yachts when I was a kid, then he raced go-karts after I had moved out. We watched tons of Formula 1 together. We went to speedway dozens of times. When he visited us and it synced up with the NASCAR schedule, we drove three-and-a-half hours up to New Hampshire to watch the race. He ended up building a full International level go-kart track just outside of Rotorua. Dad’s interest in racing never changed, just the content of what he was racing.
My hunch is that whatever it was that you were doing when you meet your wife was, it wasn’t boring. You were doing something you found interesting and fun. But you were doing something that you were naturally interested in and basically good at. So you can be the same person you always were, just change the content for something that can work now. That’s how barefoot and quirky Justin can grow up and become a Bishop. That’s how I met Jennifer by being a guest preacher and here I am all grown up writing MMSL. So find whatever it is that you’re passionate about and don’t let it die.
Oh and if all you were doing to attract your wife when you were young was attending drunken frat parties… the middle-aged equivalent is called a wine tasting.