Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The ingredients of a mid-life crisis

On the one hand, several friends seem to be being liberated to pursue God in all sorts of exciting ways:
Joe down in Devon
Tess at Freeland
and another has just been appointed as Rector of this church in California.

That's my theological and ecclesiological envy covered. On the other hand, my secular envy points out that many of my unversity peers and friends are now fully established as partners/senior managers in major global firms and earning six figure salaries (and yes, I know about the green grass and I harbour no illusions.)

So I am at one and the same time envious of those with lots of money, and also of those with absolutely no money. This is not a post about consistency of thought.

I guess it's a sense of restlessness or dissatisfaction. Of not quite fitting in my seat. If only I could hear one way or another from a certain publisher.

Then again, perhaps it's just time I bought a Porsche.

NB please note that sleeplessness played a small part in the composition of this post. Wrestling with another blinking cold played more. So I'm a bit grumpy ;o(


  1. For years I was caught between not having achieved the financial success of which I believed I was capable, and yet knowing that that desire was controlling and despoiling my life. I couldn't seem to pull away from the business world and admit 'defeat' even though I knew that if one succeeds in the rat race, 'you are still a rat'.

    Eventually I figured that the only way out was through, and I put everything into being 'successful' in my career, spending 2 years on an MBA and aggressively pushing myself forward at the office. For a brief 3 months I hit that magical 6 figure salary, and then the credit crunch hit and - praise God! - the company folded and I was liberated from having to do the thing I found so impossible - to just quit and walk away.

    Once outside the belly of the beast it becomes so much easier to be sane. And yet I wonder, if I hadn't gone through all that, would I now find it so apparently comfortable and straightforward to give up wealth altogether and be a nun?

    Has wealth become irrelevant to me because I once achieved it and therefore my ego is sated, or because God has given me a far greater Treasure? I used to think it was the former, but now I suspect it's the latter. Egos are never sated for long, but God's transformational work endures :)

    btw thanks for the link to Joe's Blog - that's another added to my rss reader! He has a nice paper on penal substitution in there which was interesting, and of course who can resist wild stories of missionary work in the depths of Devon :)

    ps I pray your cold and sleeplessness eases soon.


  2. I think I broke your blog trying to post a longer comment so I'll keep this one short :

    (regarding middle age)
    "There is the awareness of change and physical decline, of personal impotence and insignificance, of a world growing ever more indifferent, demanding and ruthless while one's own strength and energy diminish. There is the loss of faith that brings the feeling of being a charlatan, an old fraud. And there is the certainty of death and of being swiftly forgotten as though one had never existed. But perhaps most significant is the death of potential, the failure of imminence. We live in constant expectation, believing always that something will turn up, some invitation or opportunity, and the we will step forward to seize our destiny and become at last our true selves. But the middle years bring the sickening realization that nothing is going to turn up. There will be no magical deliverance. This is indeed all it is. Worse still, this meagre all-it-is will actually diminish.

    The reward is that everything brightens up afterwards. [...] There is less need to be like everyone else, as well as less need to be liked and less need to like - and so less compulsion to be accommoding. One of the great glories of later life is contrariness."

    Passage stole from Michael Foleys Age of Absurdity.

  3. God bless you my friend as you seek to discern God's heart for you and your family. Come join us in Devon! ;0)

  4. What's so funny 'bout ... a Porshe ... and peace, love and understanding. Great moment BTW.

    As you know I can't talk .... I'm into my third soft top sports since 40 ;-) .... cheap ones that is ... it's getting ouuta the box and into the frame (the open top) not the consumption.

  5. Ian - I recognise that reference... Observer, that's a really depressing (and all too accurate) quotation to share!


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