Today I am pleased to have Glynn Young guest posting. Glynn and I connected months ago through Twitter and have exchanged a few e-mails. He is someone I have admired and see as a man who is wisely living his life. Glynn has a Blog entitled Faith, Fiction, Friends
Glynn is also a professional writer exploring faith and culture, life and work; happily married to Janet, the love of his life; father of two grown sons. Award-winning speechwriter and communication consultant and is also a contributing editor for The High Calling http://www.thehighcalling.org/ . The High Calling is a website I highly recommend everyone to check out. I have read and been challenged by many of the articles. If you are not doing so already follow Glynn on Twitter @gyoung9751.
When you’re 19 years old, you’re going to live forever. When you’re approaching 60, forever is a lot closer than you used to think.
I’ve lived through three seasons of a man’s life, and I’m just now entering the fourth.
Little of it was (or is) easy. But all of it was good.
I graduated from college and heeded the call to “go west, young man,” about 200 miles west to Beaumont, Texas. Three months later, I was married.
This was the “young man, young married” period, where all one’s idealistic notions about both working and marriage come face to face with the realities. You discover the work world doesn’t exactly work the way you were taught in college; politics happens, and all the time. And for two young 20-somethings (we were both 21 when we married), those early years were both wonderful and hard. Two people had to learn how to function as one couple.
Fortunately, she loved me in spite of all my stupidity. And we were anchored in a good church in Houston, Texas.
We were married six years when Baby No. 1 arrived. I had a good job, but we were also managing two house payments, because of a house that wouldn’t sell. Finances were about as tight as they could be.
This is the “young family, getting some experience” period. You’re settled down, you’ve moved from the Young Marrieds class to the New Families class. Life becomes a bit less spontaneous, and good babysitters become worth their weight in gold.
For us, Baby No. 1 turned out to be the one everyone says you should have second – because if you have them first, they may be an only child. Active, into everything, living life four-on-the floor, believing at 2 that was as adult as the rest of us – this one was a major handful, but with a sweet disposition. We waited eight years for Baby No. 2 – who started the first six months of life with massive colic. He didn’t sleep. Neither did we.
What helped was to have a good church in St. Louis, and good neighbors. (Relatives lived 600 miles away.)
Children grow up, and so do marriages. This is the period when you will likely plateau at work, wherever that plateau happens to be. Young children become teens and then go off to college. The gap between our two ensured that one graduated college and started working while the other was just starting high school, so the empty nest was exactly our experience.
I kept waiting for my mid-life crisis to happen, but it never did. Work became a series of upheavals – reorganizations, spin-offs, a layoff, working on my own for a while, working for an urban school district, then returning to corporate life.
This was a hard time, and not only because of work. Our church went through upheaval, and we finally had to call it quits and find a new one.
I’m now staring 60 in the face. It’s going to happen this year. I find myself becoming acutely aware of age, and of all of the physical things I used to be able to do but can’t now without dislocating or straining something.
The nest is officially empty. And we’ve discovered that’s a good thing. We’re spending more time with each other. We’re doing more concerts and art galleries. We’re trying to figure out if we can plan and pull off a major trip for my birthday. We’ve now added a grandson to the family, and I can’t tell you how much I enjoy being a doting grandfather.
At work, I am as productive as ever, engaged in things I fully enjoy, not content to sit back and “manage.” I love what I do, even with all the normal frustrations. I have good people to work with. Outside of work, I’m doing a lot of online collaborations in writing and poetry. And I’m writing, mostly fiction. Maybe it will see the light of published day.
The really odd thing I’m learning is that only now do I see how much of all four seasons were with me from the beginning. Seeds planted in my 20s sprouted in the decades that followed. Things happened that anticipated getting older.
It’s as if someone knew all of this and wrote the story ahead of time.