A year ago when I turned 33, I had an overwhelming lack of accomplishment.
I was now the age that Jesus was when he completed his ministry and died on the cross. To set the bar a little lower, I had outlived dozens of legendary rockers and people almost a decade younger than me were already CEO's and billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg. I felt old.
My podcasts should've caught on by now. I should be making more money in my job. Why aren't the girls already potty-trained? When the boys love Star Wars as much as I do?
I worry a lot. What can I tell you? But everything on that list is just a variation of the same worries and concerns that every grownup has. Can you provide? Is everyone ok? Are we all normal? So, somewhere in the last four months or so, I finally found my 30's groove, and so instead of dreading another birthday morning, I'm setting some goals for myself this year. Nothing earth-shattering, but it's not just a one-year project either. I'm hopefully gonna be around to let myself down with how little progress I've made on these anyway.
5. Never share an article, link or story without verifying the truth of it.
I value honesty and the truth as highly as just about anything. Intellectual dishonesty is one of the surest ways to get me to call you out, directly, loudly and consistently. And yet, I occasionally jump at a contest that ends up being a scam, or jump with indignation at some injustice only to discover that it was all an overblown misunderstanding. The fact that one story ends up not being true doesn't mean that there aren't injustices in the world or even stories just like the one that I shared, with different names and addresses. But sharing false or exaggerated stories dilutes my own "trust factor" for those that read the things I share. If it hurts and angers me when others do it, I must excise it in my own life.
4. Notice my neighbor.
Anytime someone asks me about my faith, I talk about loving your neighbor. It's the second commandment of Christ, after all, and like unto the first one, Love the Lord your God. I do a good job of remembering that I'm supposed to love them, and why I'm supposed to love them (loving them, is like loving God), but I often completely overlook exactly who my "neighbor" is. While I know they don't all look like me, I sometimes forget that they don't all vote like me or pray like me or feel about THEIR neighbors they way I think I'm supposed to. I've got to love them, but I've got notice them first.
3. Pray for my enemies. Until they aren't my enemies.
I've been praying a lot lately. For patience and love, joy in the middle of turmoil and a still tongue in response to insults. That's all good. Necessary even. But I was reminded, by one of my small group members (I'm gonna tell you guys about them at some point soon, and why you should find your own awesome group), that praying for myself will only get me so far. I'm supposed to be praying for those that have me perplexed and stressed. Supposed to pray for those that I'm holding my tongue against. Supposed to pray for my enemies. Not to change them, but to change me. Because it's really a problem of an incorrect mindset. They aren't my enemies, they're my neighbor too. So, I'm praying for them until I recognize our common property lines, so to speak.
2. Love my wife half as well as she deserves.
I feel like if I'm grading myself right now (fairly, but firmly) I'm giving her about a quarter of what she SHOULD get. Of my time, my attention, my affection etc. I'd like to get that to at least 3/8 by our next anniversary. The good news is, I've got all the rest of them to work on it.
1. Keep all my plates spinning.
I am a husband. A father of four children under 8. A full-time employee of a small terrestrial radio group with an air-shift, production responsibilities a couple of sales accounts and a pile of digital management and promotion work. Two podcasts per week (and a third miniseries to announce soon), and a serious jones to watch a movie or two every week at least. There's a lot on my plates, but so far they're all spinning. It seems the more I put up there the better I get at spinning them, so I'll just keep adding it on. Slow and steady, but always pushing myself to spin faster.