Beyond the Halfway Mark?

Today is my last day to be 47 years old.  One of my good friends wrote me in advance, “Happy Birthday Tom, I like old people!”  I guess at a minimum, I’m not in the “spring chicken” category anymore.

Only the Lord knows how long I will be here but in all likelihood, I have hit at least the halfway mark in my life.  It reminds me of a movie I enjoyed in my teens called, “And Justice for All.”  In part of it, Al Pacino (the lead) is dealing with a crazy judge.  In order to try to get him to make a correct ruling, he agrees to go on a helicopter ride with him only to discover that the judge likes to take the helicopter out until the fuel gauge reads below the halfway mark and then try to make it back.  Pacino and the judge survive the ride back but it is interesting.  The judge, crazy or not, obviously has to use better skills on the way back than he did on the way out to get down safely.

Thirty years ago, I think many a person my age would be beginning to plot out his or her retirement.  Even if it was a long way off, it would be normal to think of their own long-term landing.  But while not dismissing that topic, I think people my age have no such luxury today.  Like the crazy judge in the movie, we’ll have to do better with our second half than we’ve done with our first.

Our society is on a non-sustainable track in many regards.  Everyone has different ideas on what must be done with health care but almost everyone agrees the status quo cannot hold.  Social Security will run out if long-term funding is not addressed.  We cannot continue to deficit spend and trade if our nation is to have any economic long-term viability.  We cannot depend on fossil fuels forever.  Our society is attending church less and less and vices that have dogged humanity for ages (addictions to substance abuse, gambling, pornography, and usury (the charing of outrageous interest)) continue to rise.  We are in overseas wars that we cannot continue to fund forever.

And today “tolerance” is the only quality we seem to universally place value in. A certain degree of tolerance is vital for a modern democracy to succeed but we fall into the trap of feeling we can hardly make a moral statement on anything out of fear that we will be intolerant to someone else.  It is like we are accepting a gag in our mouths as a good and necessary thing.

Where are you on the road of life?  None of us know how far we will go.  But if we are going to make a difference, preserving the status quo should not be our goal.  We surely can’t fix everything in our sometimes mixed up world and in our lives but we still can influence many things for the better.

I have been blessed abundantly in my 47 years.  If you are reading this, I suspect you will feel the same about your life.

If God grants us more – maybe even the same as we have lived so far – let us do our best so that God may say “better done” with our second half of our lives when compared with the first.

In Christ,

Tom Paine



One thought on “Beyond the Halfway Mark?

  1. absolutely spot on …far form winding down as we approach that magic 50, we face the startling realisation that we have almost as much of our working lives ahead of us as behind us ….we will need to be earning out pension when received wisdom tells us we should be spending it. If we hope to love longer and (hopefully)healthier lives we need to reorganise our whole society.
    But we also need to recognise that working at 65 will not be the same as working at 35 – or we will all burn out before our pension stage…putting a further strain on the healthcare system.
    We need to revise our worklife balance so that work can be part of our lives for longer but so that the other elements – giving/learning/play – feature too. Otherwise we will find ourselves completely unable to lead productive and complete lives.

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