From the top of the proverbial hill
My favorite part of almost every movie is what I call the musical montage. It usually starts with the main character realizing the need for change and taking drastic action.
The alarm clock rings at 0-dark-thirty, heart-thumping theme music pounds as they bolt out of bed, drink raw eggs, and run a bajillion miles in the dark, wearing a stylish hoodie and greeting the sunrise in a triumphant mountaintop moment.
You’ve seen the variations of the musical montage. Rocky. Karate Kid. Clueless. Even Cinderella has her big transformation.
And you’ve probably seen it in real life, too. The mom who, after having her fourth child, somehow loses 100 pounds and runs a marathon. The doctor who gives up his lucrative practice to serve needy families. The grandmother who finally realizes her dream of getting her college degree.
I’m fascinated by people who transform their lives——those who face the fork in the road and choose the upward climb.
This was a big year.
I turned 40. Hard to believe it’s gone by so quickly. School, marriage, children, work. It’s been a wonderful blur.
But now that I’m teetering at the top of the proverbial hill, it’s time to decide what’s next. I’m at that fork in the road.
Society tells me it’s all coasting from here, but that doesn’t sit right with me.
My goodness. I’m forty. I’m not dead. Who wants to coast?
I’m thinking now that I’ve conquered the hill, it’s time to find a mountain. Perhaps arriving at the midpoint of our lives means the best is yet to come?
Stories are always better in the second half. Broadway plays never reach their climax until after intermission. Movies get more exciting at the end. Sporting events are hardly worth watching until the final dramatic moments.
What if every year we reached new heights and took our last breath at the top of a mountain that we’d spent our entire life conquering, all the while blazing trails for others?
Did you know that Laura Ingalls Wilder didn’t write her first book until she was 65? Julia Child was 40 when she discovered her passion for cooking. John Wooden, the winningest coach in college basketball history, wrote ten books, many New York Times bestsellers, after the age of 90. Renowned painter Grandma Moses didn’t pick up a brush until the age of 76, and still managed to paint over 1000 paintings in her final 25 years.
Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, and Ghandi certainly didn’t choose to coast in the later halves of their lives.
It’s crazy how much we change from the moment we are born to the moment we blow out the candles on our 20th birthday cake. Not only do we transform physically, but the way we learn about the world, other people, and how to leave our legacy is truly amazing.
What if we continued to change just as radically every following 20 years as we did the first?
80+ full years of internal transformation. Filled to overflowing with wisdom, grace, kindness, strength, courage, patience and maybe qualities we don’t even have words for now?
In 40 more years, I want to have lived in such a way that people around me long to be 80 more than they long to be 18 again.
What about you? Have you plateaued in your growth? Are you ready for a musical montage?
Your life matters. No matter how small, insignificant, unorganized or visionless you feel, there never has been anyone like you and there never, ever will be. God is not a redundant creator.
No matter how old or young you are, there are people you are meant to love, lives to influence, words to speak, work to do, truth to share, and peace to offer.
And as long as we are alive we have room to grow. There is always hope, possibility, and another peak to climb. So if you find yourself at a fork in the road, choose the climb.
Maybe it’s time for your musical montage.
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