‘Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.’ (Everybody’s Free: To Wear Suncream – Baz Luhrmann).
I hope Baz Luhrmann is right on this one, because today (Friday 27th June) I turn 40 and I still don’t really know what I want to do with my life.
In my time, I’ve been a student of art and theology. I’ve worked as a photographic technician, and in the newspaper industry. I’ve packed crisps, frozen peas and waited tables. I’ve guided students through distance learning theology degrees, and written dozens of magazine articles and several books. All these things have had their delights and their tedious frustrations. And all have contributed to making me the person I am today – but that person is still not sure what he really wants to do with the years he has post-40.
I was discussing this with my partner, Kay, the other night, in that just-before-sleep-reflective-haze. ‘I’ve done a lot with my life,’ I mused. ‘But somehow, I don’t feel I’ve ever found that something that has allowed my to fulfil my potential. Inside, I feel like a giant is trying to get out.’
U2 have a song entitled 40. It’s based on Psalm 40. The song has a refrain: ‘I will sing a new song.’ That’s my hope as I turn 40. That in the months and years ahead, I will indeed sing a new song – a song that feels in harmony with who I am, a song that expresses the giant inside, even if to everyone else, I’m still just plain old (and getting older) Alan.