Making Life Worthwhile

Be Something


What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a question we pose to nearly every child we meet. For the record, my daughter’s answer veers wildly from writer to mom to artist to scientist while my son’s answers are a predictable shrug of the shoulders and impish grin.

But I’ve really come to hate that question. You see, as I’m creeping up and over the hill, it seems to have returned to my life with a vengeance. You are 40-years-old, what do you want to be?

Unfortunately for all of you, it such a familiar sense of lostness that the question has a name–middle age crisis. And what a crisis it can be.

In the last few months, my husband and I have been confronted with wide-open options–opportunities to make moves, do new things, change career directions, climb the ladder, boldly go where no man has gone before…It’s a terrifying and heady thing to face such decisions.

How do you decide between option A and option B? Or is there an option C? How do you find peace? Is the point of life to be happy? Or to somehow find ways to contribute even when it doesn’t feel good? Maybe there’s a way to combine the two? Inevitably all these questions slam us directly into a bigger question that we struggle to answer and live out on a daily basis:

Is there more to life than what we can measure on a spreadsheet?

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No matter what your job, we all struggle with what life is meant to be. Does it matter how many widgets you’ve made, how much money you take home, or how many words you’ve written? And what about those things that don’t result in quantifiable, measurable success?

How do you measure your success as a parent? Are you a successful wife? Or child? How do you know if you’re a good friend? And does the time it take to develop those relationships mean something?

What about creating beauty, being a peacemaker, or learning patience? Are any of these things worth our effort?

I have to believe we are more than what we do.

We are more than the sum of the roles we play, the jobs we perform. Certainly our everyday responsibilities are necessary and impact who we influence, what we learn, and what we can take on. But what I do is not who I am. What you do is not who you are.

Life is less about your performance, drive, and ambition, and more about what you look like when you do it.

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At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if I choose option A or option B. It doesn’t matter how many widgets I sell or what the widget is. What matters is how I live–what I am–in the midst of living those options.

Am I kind to those I interact with? Am I patient? Do I listen to other people’s hurts? Do I tell them what they need to hear, even when it’s a hard thing to tell? Can I be gentle even when I’m angry? Do I see people, their problems, their lives? Am I willing to admit that I’m wrong or that I’ve failed?

If I can be the person that is capable of good things, I become someone worthwhile.

In that place, I become what I’m created to be and it doesn’t matter if I sweep floors or barter million dollar deals, wipe dirty baby bottoms, or write best-selling novels, I am doing what I’m supposed to be doing to become the person I’m supposed to be.

So in the interest of encouraging one another to be less concerned about or daily checklist and concentrate on who we’re becoming, what are the areas of your life where you feel less than successful? And what do you do to combat the lies?

8 thoughts on “Making Life Worthwhile

  1. Janyre:

    I am blessed to have the love of my good wife (45 years), and I have discovered the path God intended for me in my retirement: blending my Nature Photography with Poetry. With passion and gratitude, I will continue on this journey.

    Thanks for this thought provoking post.


    Richard Havenga

    1. I almost didn’t post this one . . . it was one I struggled with a lot. So I’m especially glad it was of help to you.

    1. Absolutely, but sometimes we ALL forget or we don’t really live like we believe that. And yes, 40 is definitely young, but it’s headed into that space where we all tend to start re-evaluating life.

  2. Somehow I missed this post until today. I’m on vacation and using some of the time to catch up on “fun” emails. Your post “You don’t have to Do something to Be something” is well written, thought provoking and so true. As I counsel folks often their concerns revolve around trying to do or to achieve something in order to please someone I often share “sometimes the best thing you can DO is to just BE” – just “be” with someone who has just lost a loved one, be still, be kind, be joyful, be gracious, be a friend, etc. Many people are very uncomfortable just “being.”

    1. Just being isn’t usually a comfortable place because it doesn’t feel safe. It means we can’t make something happen. It means we don’t have control.

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