Doug Coupland once wrote, "At twenty you know you're not going to be a rock star... by twenty-five you know you're not going to be a dentist or a professional... by thirty, a darkness starts moving in - you wonder if you're ever going to be fulfilled, let alone wealthy or successful... by thirty-five, you know, basically, what you're going to be doing the rest of your life; you become resigned to your fate."
I have been thinking a lot about this recently.
I still want to be famous. I dream of it less than when I was young, but I like to think of mingling with the bignames. I find myself wanting to name-drop, to sound like I am somehow closer to stardom than the masses. But I am almost twenty-seven, and the chances of that happening are slim-to-none. The realist in me is coming to terms with this. Mostly.
However, I don't wonder if I will ever be fulfilled, wealthy or successful.
I already am.
I am in the wealthiest 3% of the world's population. You probably are too.
I feel fulfilled. My life is not perfect, but it is good. I think this sense of fulfillment comes because I am clarifying who it is that I am and what it is that I am made to do. I am making choices in my life to do things that give me joy. This doesn't mean I avoid hardship. But there is a difference between doing difficult things and doing things that are outside of my "calling." The idea of calling is a whole other post. Or a whole book. I recommend Courage and Calling by Gordon T Smith. Written from a Christian perspective, but I think has some big insights no matter your faith community.
And as for success, my main goals in life are 1. Know Jesus. and 2. Love people. I have not arrived at either of these, but I am increasingly okay with the fact that I never will. Fully. But I will continue to move forward in both endeavours. And I'm convinced that as I do, the secondary goals in my life will either happen or be redefined.
I am choosing to live my life believing that the best days are ahead of me. I will always believe this, no matter how old I get. And if I stop believing it, I want someone (other than my brothers) to slap me in the face and remind me of this post.
You know, I am convinced of God's goodness in a way I haven't always been. I still wrestle with hope and what it looks like in various difficult situations, but I have realized this: I still have hope. Sometimes I think that is harder than having no hope.
I share all these thoughts not to make you feel guilty or like a failure if you don't currently love your life. But to challenge us all away from the status quo of resignation and comparison and towards actively choosing contentment and the pursuit of non-material wealth.
What about you: what do you think of this quote? How do you fight resignation or mediocrity in your life? What do you think the difference is between developing contentment and becoming complacement?