Frames and Foundations - 4.23.11 1145

Picture by Darren Robertson

Thirty has been on my mind for many years now.

I know mid-life crisis things happen to people normally around 40, but I've always felt 30 would be that point for me. Where am I at in life? What have I accomplished so far? Can I still accomplish some of the things I wanted to? Are there doors closing? Are there doors opening? Am I old?

Sometimes it feels like leaving my 20s means leaving behind fresh opportunities. Almost as if once you hit 30, that's it. Life is established. The road is set, the path taken. I'm fighting this mindset because I know it's not true, but it has settled pretty deep in my mind and I'm having a hard time rooting it out.

Stephen Pate has been helping me a lot with this... probably more than he knows. Whereas I've been somewhat dreading this time in my life, he's looking forward to it. It's the Age of Credibility, he says. People look at you different when you say you're in your 30s instead of 20s. Now, there's some life experience under your belt, like what you say and the advice you give finally has some weight behind it.

Looking at it like that has really given me a fresh perspective. I kind of pictured my 30s as the age of being settled. Career, check. Major decisions, check. Marriage, check. Kids, check. The things that the 20s still seem to have up in the air have relaxed and organized themselves in my 30s. I know I'll still be learning things, I mean I'll have a kid! But I was having a hard time coping with the thought that the restless, free self I have would really have to start calming down and facing reality.

Now, after talking with Stephen, I've factored in some new variables. My 30s will be just as defining as my 20s. In your 20s you are finding yourself, picking one path of many, figuring out life directions and evaluating options. In essence, I see it as building your foundation. Setting the bedrock of the house that will be your life. And i pictured my 30s as the beginning of building on that foundation. Setting the framework of that house.

I feel like I have used my 20s to really set in place the cornerstones of what my life will look like. I've tightened the gaps, made it strong, and figured out the basic layout. Christ has a solid, important spot instead of figuring out the perfect position of how he fits with my life. The wife stone has been put in place also, as well as the career stone. The rest of my life is going to look like the blueprints my 20s laid out. Sure, there will be changes, but my cornerstones are set. Now it's all about building on that.

Enter the kids.

What will they do to my house? As I'm setting my framework, what walls or beams will they knock down? On top of this, I'll be spending the next 20 years helping my child figure out their cornerstones and foundations. What if they want a different cornerstone than mine? How much freedom and control do I allow for changes to my idea of their blueprint? They might want to know why I have the cornerstones I do, so do I have a ready answer?

The next 10 years are still a journey. There will still be adventure. Doors of opportunity have closed behind me for sure, the "prime of my life" has been spent. Was it spent wisely? New doors will be opened, but with a different emphasis. Now, instead of determining my core self, I'm putting muscles to the bone and eventually flesh to the body. I hope I have put a high enough priority on Jesus' place in my life that God's promise can be fulfilled in me, to be conformed to the image of Christ. With him in my foundation, I have to be open to changing the framework when needed and remembering that he should be the architect.

I think I've got some good momentum in the right direction. Can I see it through to the end?

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