I have a habit of using song lyrics as post titles, but I’m betting none of my regular reader friends was expecting a Spice Girls lyric to show up, were you?
Apparently, the Spice Girls reunion tour is doing rather well. I guess even Pop Star life doesn’t end at 30, after all. Good for them–and it reminds me of something I’ve wanted to write about here.
In a few short weeks, I’ll officially be 35 years old. That’s a minor miracle in and of itself, simply because I didn’t think I’d make 30 for a long time. We’re in a society right now that prizes youth and energy above age and wisdom. While I don’t think 35 qualifies me as “old and wise” quite yet, I find myself shocked fairly frequently at the number of people who have the attitude that if you haven’t accomplished your dreams by age 30, you should pretty much give up and “settle.” I find this astounding, since I didn’t personally really figure out what my dreams even were with any real clarity till I was at least 32. From what I’ve read about the rest of Generation X, that’s a fairly common thing.
While Millenials seem to start bootstrapping web-based businesses before they’re out of Boy Scouts, Gen Xers seem to have this sort of protracted adolescence, spending most of our 20s trying to figure out who we are and what we want to be when we grow up.
Now that many of us are hitting our 30s, we find ourselves considered “over the hill” by some, just as we’ve figured out how to be adults (for some of us, prior to figuring that out, but I digress…) Wondering if we missed our opportunity to have and follow big dreams.
Well, according to Dennis Hopper, our Baby Boomer parents are still having new dreams and fulfilling them, so I guess not.
The first step in following your dreams, of course, is figuring out what they are. If you’ve been dodging that uneasy feeling, now is the time to face and reject the fear that you waited too long to get motivated to accomplish anything significant and intentional (that’s another post–the really significant things that turned out to be a complete surprise). The next step is casting a vision for that future.
There are lots of different tools and resources for vision-casting and dream building. And please, don’t get all twitchy and uncomfortable, thinking I’m recommending some materialistic, Amway-esque version of “dream building” or one that ignores God’s plans for your life. Totally not the point. The point is, in your thirties, it might be time to get a little (or a lot) more intentional about your life. Think “direction,” not “destination.”
It’s about the small details of your daily life that you’d like to change, and the really cool, amazing, God-directed places those small changes can eventually lead you to. And it starts with “values.”
Whether you’re a purpose-driven Rick Warren fan, or a GTD (“Getting Things Done”) acolyte, or a
Stephen Covey Seven Habits adherent, they all agree that there are bigger things than your laundry to consider when allocating your time. That what guides your choices in life is what you value. Not what you say you value, or what you think you ought to value, or what Madison Avenue tells you to value, but what you actually value.
Which brings us back round, rather neatly, to the Spice Girls.
We’re all value-driven creatures. It all comes down to what you want, what you really really want, from life. If you’re saying that what you want is richer relationships, but you aren’t giving your time to developing them, then you need to think about whether you really want it, and something is holding you back (usually fear) or if you’re actually quite satisfied with your relationships but everyone is “supposed” to be striving for “richer, deeper relationships” and you personally don’t even know what that really means.
Basically, to put it another way, it’s time to get real and get honest with yourself. Write down what you think your values are, and then look at the list from the perspective of “am I in fact, actually pursuing these things?” If you’re not, is the problem a lack of real honest motivation (incorrectly identified values) or some sort of perceived obstacle (fear, anxiety, whatever is holding you back.)
I’d like to ask that if any of my reader friends does a little value assessment, and has an interesting story to share, let me know. You can either post it in the comments, or email it to me at coffeecupkat [at] gmail [dot] com–with your kind permission, I’ll include your comment in a follow-up post.