“Throughout their lives, they live under a cloud— frustrated, discouraged, and angry.”
Ecclesiastes 5:17 NLT
Men of a certain age are cranky because nothing has turned out right.
One day you’re developing your master plan to become the next Big Thing with the bank account, family, house and fame to match. Then you wake up one day and realize you’re a certain age and think “What the hell happened? Where’s the great adventure? What happened to my dreams?” You grab your phone, hit your banking app and your balance is not what you expected. You don’t have 5000 friends on Facebook. The family you hoped for hasn’t exactly worked out either. In other words, nothing has worked out like you planned and it pisses you off.
Whether you’re going to play professional sports, develop the next Facebook, Apple or Google, or cure cancer, most guy’s start out life with big dreams. But what really happens is once a guy gets out of high school or for sure college, he finds himself mired in an endless cycle of wake up, work, come home, eat, veg out in front of the tv, go to bed. Rinse, repeat.
“Men lead quiet lives of desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them” -Thoreau
That’s why most every man of a certain age wakes up one morning cranky.
There’a a great line by Billy Crystal’s character in “City Slickers”: “Have you ever had that feeling that this is the best I’m ever gonna do, this is the best I’m ever gonna feel… and it ain’t that great?” When men get to this point, we quit. We become apathetic. Stuff we used to think was important and even worth fighting for, now we just don’t give a crap.
This is dangerous, because men are hard-wired to give a crap. When we don’t we fall into “good enough”, “close enough” or the most dangerous mode of all, work just hard enough to not get fired (which means getting paid just enough to not quit). When that happens, a dangerous cocktail of incompetency and inefficiency takes over. That’s when companies, families and even countries begin a death spiral.
The bottom line is, when a man loses his “give a crap”, the world loses.
Who Told You To Quit?
But who said it had to be this way? Where is it written that wherever you are in life is where you have to stay forever? There have been tons of men who succeeded later in life:
- Ray Kroc was a 52 year old milkshake salesman when bought McDonalds.
- Jack Cover invented the Taser when he was 50 and didn’t sell a single one until he was 60.
- Sam Walton owned a small chain of discount stores but he didn’t open the first Wal-Mart until 1962, when he was 44.
- John Newton wrote “Amazing Grace” at the age of 52
- Mark Twain published “The Adventures of Huckleberry Flynn” when he was 50.
- Nick Saban won his first National Championship at 52.
Are you getting it men of a certain age? None of us are done unless we allow ourselves to be done. The fact is we’re actually moving into a powerful time of life. We’ve got more time and freedom than we’ve had in a long time. NOW is time to get back in the game. It’s not the time to give up and waste away our most productive years bitching about the election or complaining about our taxes.
Why? The world needs you and every other man of a certain age. We need your experience and your wisdom. So stop sitting in the bleachers watching the game and get back on the field.
The world is depending on you.