No time for a midlife crisis

I’ve been putting off a midlife crisis for years, because I’m simply unwilling to define my “deathday.”

What’s a deathday? It’s that number on the right side of the dash on your tombstone. One date is your birthday, then the dash, and then the deathday. I’m a math weakling, but even I know it’s hard to find the middle of something without know where it begins and where it ends. So how can I have a midlife crisis without know when my life will end?

Based on family history, I used to predict that I’d live until my mid-50s. But that was no good when it came to scheduling a midlife crisis. You can’t have a midlife crisis in your 20s! Your 20s are reserved for other crises.

Now that I’m in my early 50s, I’ve decided I might defy family history. My immediate male ancestors were heavy smokers; I’m not. And I’m in no hurry to go anywhere. I’m looking forward to what follows death, but I’m just hitting my stride here on Earth. I’m madly in love with my wonderful wife. I have great kids and amazing grandkids. I enjoy my work. And when I get out of my own way, I usually feel like I’m contributing to the world around me.

As the Apostle Paul put it, “to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)

Do I have problems? Sure. And most of them are self-created (like a midlife crisis). But, more importantly, I have peace. Jesus said, “I have told you these things so that in my you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome this world.” (John 16:33)

Mom and her great grandchildren
Mom and her great grandchildren

So I take heart and do my best to live as if I’ll die tomorrow and plan as if I’ll live forever.

What’s that look like? Well, it looks like my mother. She’s 80 going on 180, and she’s very much a role model.

We recently had a party in her honor and a bunch of family and friends showed up to celebrate with us. I was reminded again of how well she is living her life. Present tense.

She never stops growing like Jesus, and that, I think, is her secret. She goes about each day loving God and loving others. She takes risks to serve others. And she seeks truth and tries to learn from it. She follows Paul’s advice and conducts herself “in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” (Philippians 1:27)

When we live like that, we are too busy serving God and others to create a midlife crisis that’s all about ourselves and our selfish desires.

I often fail in my attempt to live like that. OK, I regularly fail. As a result, I’ve experienced thousands of selfish, self-created crises, any of which might qualify as a midlife crisis. So whenever I die, feel free to take my age and divide by two to get my midlife age. Then pick whatever crisis I was dealing with at that time and you can call it my midlife crisis. I’ll be OK with that, and even if I’m not, I won’t be around to argue about it. In the meantime, I’ll follow Mom’s lead the best that I can.