Call it your purpose in life.
Call it the fulfillment of a dream.
Call it a calling.
It’s that “one thing” that people would do with their lives if they could. What is it for you? If I could have chosen when I was younger, it would have been, in this order: 1-A singer with the talent and reach of someone like Garth Brooks (you pick the genre, I just like country thank you). 2-A wide receiver or tight end in the NFL. 3-An archeologist like Indiana Jones (or Lara Croft, whichever you’re familiar with). Alas, I can sing, but only in a way that’s pleasing to my ears. I played some football in high school, but that’s about as far as that went. And real archeology is done with a toothbrush and a dental pick and I just don’t have the patience for that.
As I got older (notice I didn’t say grew up, once that happens, I’ll let you know), those childhood dreams, which for me were more fantasy, gave way to the reality of my true calling. I feel blessed and privileged today to be living my calling, which in part is to reach people through writing. Since my first novel, “The Last Fall” came out, I’ve heard the following sentence more times than I can count; “you know I’ve always wanted to write a book.” Then comes the myriad of excuses as to why the speaker hasn’t done it yet. You know what they say about excuses.
Enter the 33 year itch-which I think I’ve encountered more in the last year than any other time in my life. And what exactly is that? In my humble opinion, it’s the time in life where adults become restless unless they are living their calling. It seems to strike in the early to mid thirties, and is different from its older brother the mid-life crisis. I believe it happens for several reasons. First, I believe that EVERY person is sacred, and that every person, created in God’s image, has different gifts/talents, and a specific purpose on Earth. Second, when Jesus walked the earth, the crux of His ministry occurred in his early 30s as far as we know. Last, I’m a firm believer in free will. From day one of our existence, we have had the ability to chose; follow the calling or abandon it for an alternate and far inferior path.
Could it be that the restlessness you’re feeling right now is because you’ve given up on your calling. Do you have the 33 year itch?
I believe humans were created to do great things, but most of us live far below our capacity. I recently heard a story of a man who gained amazing musical abilities after receiving a serious concussion. One day, after being treated for the concussion and released from the hospital, this man was visiting a friend and felt drawn to a piano at his house. After very little musical training, the man sat down at the piano and began to create original compositions! Doctors said that something happened to the wiring in his Brain and that he is now a musical Savant (1). We all have a natural ability to do great things, however we don’t always use our full potential.
It wasn’t until this year that I truly understood and took hold of my calling, though I’ve known it for years (and it is a work in progress). I’ll save those details for another day, but will say that though I had another full time job when I was in my late 20s/early 30s, I felt that I NEEDED to publish a novel when I was 33. It just felt right; like it was the thing I was supposed to do. And by God’s grace, my first book rolled off the presses in October of 2010, just 4 months shy of my 34th birthday! Since then, the doors have continued to open for other areas of my calling, and I’ve had the amazing opportunities to share my passions with people not only through writing, but also through television, radio, and print media.
It’s never too late to scratch that 33 year itch. And it’s ok if it has struck in your 40s, 50s, or even later. If you have not yet, or are not currently living your life’s calling, pray about it and ask God to identify it for you. Then set goals, and do some research to see what it is you need to do to reach that goal. And when it happens, share with others, and help them to realize it’s possible for them to do the same.
Why are you waiting? Finish this blog and start today! I know, it’s hard work! I know, it’s going to take some sacrifices here and there! But 20, 30, or 40 years from now, you will never regret having tried to do something great, having lived up to your potential, and having taken hold of your calling. But you will regret it if you don’t chase that calling. All you’ll be left with then is that constant and annoying itch!
What is your calling?