Over the last few months of 2013, I was strongly impressed with the realization that I am entering the second half of my adult life. It has been 25 years since I graduated from high school. In another 25 years, I will be 68 years old. (Go ahead and do the math.) Even if I live to my predicted life expectancy of more than nine decades, by any reasonable expectation 68 years is a very long and full life.
I have also had an acute awareness that our years of direct influence on our children as their parents are rapidly dwindling. Our older son will graduate from high school in 3 1/2 years; our younger in 5 1/2. We are on the “downward” in terms of our hands-on parenting. In many ways they are already stretching their wings, even though “full launch” is still a few years away.
The reality is that I may likely have fewer productive years left than I have lived thus far. This thought does not make me sad; rather, it is motivation for me to make the most of the days God has already numbered for me. The first half of my adult life was about preparation and acquisition: earning my degrees; getting married; having and nurturing children; buying a home; establishing savings and retirement accounts; appropriately climbing the professional ladder and accepting new responsibilities.
I desire for the second half of my life to be about investments that will allow me to give more while also living richly:
- Using my education, abilities, and accumulated experience to develop, encourage, and unleash ministry leaders.
- Loving those whom God places in our ministry path.
- Pouring into my boys until they leave home, then being there as needed as they navigate adulthood.
- Continuing to invest in my marriage so that it is richer, not poorer, when we are empty nesters.
- Seeking counseling and doing other emotional work as needed.
- Being increasingly open-handed with our financial resources, while reducing our own material needs and consumption.
- Walking in deep community with true friends.
- Taking care of my body so that I do not burn out prematurely.
This vision necessitates some practical preparation in the coming years. I have mentioned many of them in my 2014 goals. These will help me continue to lay a solid foundation for the second half of my life. I look forward to living a full life until the final buzzer!