In another day, I will be 50. I can’t believe it, actually. I don’t feel like it is possible. I still feel, in many ways, like somebody who is wondering “what am I going to do when I grow up?”. I still feel like a college kid. I have a wife and two kids, and wondering how we’re going to afford college for our son who is finsihing his junior year in high school. IN another 10 years when our daughter is ready to go to college, I’ll be turning 60. Yikes! (I guess we’ll be paying back college loans for years)
I guess that in the last year, I’ve “felt older” for the first time in my life in a social kind of way. (In other ways, like physically, I’ve begun to notice the physical things like back stiffness, taking medications for cholesterol and blood pressure, etc.) It seems that at 40, I was still relating just fine with the young 20 something computer techs I with whom I worked. When we moved to Nashville the next year when I got my first denominational agency Web-related job, things seemed fine socially. I suddenly began to notice about 5 or 6 years ago, that I no longer had a set of folks with whom I “hung out”. I tend to attribute that to the growth in the “gap” between “my generation” and the “median” set of social rules, expectations. As the GenX group and whatever the upcoming generation will be called are assimilated into the mix, some of the sensibilities of GenX and “newX” are blended in, so that the now set of 30 somethings and 40 somethings inherit some of the up and coming philosphies and outlooks and interests, and the 50’s move on with a little less of the attitude and philosophy and outlook of the general public than they had a decade ago as 40 somethings.
Add to that mix the theological interests I have, and my day to day work environment where technology is the culture, and IT departments, tending to be stocked with career IT people, even in denominational agencies this is the case….there are scarcely any people in tech departments that have one foot in the tech world and one in the theological or church world. It’s not a great feat or anything, but it does make for some “gap” in what one talks about, and where one finds one’s “hangout”. I’m also into major league baseball and college basketball and NFL football, and there often isn’t much of that kind of interest in tech departments either.
None of this is to day that it’s in any way wrong or strange for most IT people to be disinterested in sports, or theology. It’s just one of those ingredients that make it more of a matter of conscious effort to “speak the language”….and add to that the increasing generational gap, and I suppose also a “lack” of church community with which I can find community so that I might “need from” the “other” aspects of my life so much.
Add to that the sheer intimidating notion that I am going to be “50” — and I guess one might say that I am in a place of uncertainty about “my place” at a degree I’ve not known since puberty. My faith is a constant in all this. I can “know” that the “place” I seek where I am more “fully known” is waiting to be discovered, seeking me out even now.
I am encouraged that I am still assuming a “looking ahead” posture toward this “turning 50”. I’m not looking at it as a “plateau” from which everything else is “downhill”. I believe that faith insists that this is kept in a healthy balance. That the story that is my story for these past 50 years has collected in this life a unique and gifted blend of experience that has much to do yet. In the exciting and ever-changing world of Internet and Web, there is an almost automatic stance or attitude of expectation, and where the church is concerned, the call to equip the saints and to enable creative communication and resources for the journey, the possibilities are endless.