Recently, my life seems to be full of things I never imagined. Indeed, being a few weeks away from turning 51 is itself something I never imagined. My father died when he was 47, and given the way I behaved in my younger days, I was convinced I’d also leave my myriad fans behind some time in my forties, so in this respect each additional moment comes as a surprise. Apparently the fortuitous combination of maternal genetics and the adage that “only the good die young” has offered me a measure of protection.
In addition to the profound mystery of my prolonged respiration, my life is full of lesser curiosities. For example, I’ve been using Twitter lately. In this respect I’m like one fine episode of Gilligan’s Island, in which in one scene Gilligan resists wearing a dress thus: “You can’t make me, you can’t make me, you can’t make me.”” Of course in the next scene Gilligan is wearing a dress.
I have now donned Twitter, and yes, I agree: it looks as ridiculous on me as Gilligan’s Dress. I’m at @JohnLockwood. Say hello, it would be a tweet.
Still more unusual than using Twitter is this: I follow Tony Robbins. You all know Tony Robbins, pop psychology’s answer to Guy Smiley. I’m interested in what he has to say. Through the usual means of Google, learn, hyperlink, repeat, I learned a little more about Neurolinguistic Programming by looking at some pages about Robbins. It’s interesting too. I’ll probably buy a book or two about it.
That much is not unusual: I’ll probably buy a book or two. What can I say, I’m an intellectual, and intellectuals buy books. Amazon.com eyes me with the very lust that the lion has for a slow zebra.
The big oddity of my forties was leaving software development to pursue a career in sales. Of course in recent years, temperament and the economy have conspired to return me to my earlier craft, and so – much like angular momentum – nerdhood would appear to be conserved. A bigger surprise awaited me in finding out that I’d not only find a a regular W2 job with the 8 to 5 and the cubicle and the donuts on Friday, but actually, in some measure, enjoy it.
The day job notwithstanding, I have not yet abandoned my quest for the most unimaginable thing of all: my life’s calling. In this case, by unimaginable I mean something quite literal: if I have a life’s calling, I can’t imagine what it is.
I’m not entirely convinced that having a life’s calling is not something that motivational types like Tony Robbins haven’t made up to sell books about how to find it, secure in the knowledge that most people pass their lives as I do: more or less farting around. Selling houses is a good business model because they’re expensive, but a lot more people have houses than a clearly defined sense of what their purpose in life is. So on the demand side, selling the idea of finding oneself is not a bad way to go.
I’m going to spend some time finding myself. If I succeed, I’ll let you know where I was all along. I’ll bring a water bottle in case I appear to be dehydrated.