“What has surprised you since you turned 64?” asked my good friend David Nour.
When he asked me this question, we were in a taxi going to the airport at 6 am. David was in the front passenger seat, and Kathy and I were in the back. I looked at Kathy and said, “I know the answer.”
She said, “You’re confused?”
“I am surprised at how confused I am,” I answered.
“Why are you confused?” David asked.
“I seem to be facing the big life questions all over again,” I said.
Life was busy, not complicated.
“For 35 years, life was on automatic. I knew the work I was doing, so I got up every day and did it. I was there to take care of Kathy and the kids. It was so simple. I went to work, and she took care of the kids and me.”
As I look back, I don’t understand why life seemed so complicated. It wasn’t. It was busy. We were running in lots of different directions. Building businesses. Building a family. Building a life.
And we weren’t alone. Everybody we knew was doing the exact same thing. It was like we all jumped into a fast moving river at the same time.
We were all moving quickly. Experiencing life the same way and just trying to survive and do the right thing. Most of the time we did the right thing, but sometimes we didn’t.
The family is growing, again.
Kathy and I used to dream of the day when the kids would be gone and on their own. We would then be on our own to do anything we wanted. That time came and went so fast; I don’t even remember it. Our daughters got married to two great men. Then, in what seemed to be the blink of an eye, came the two greatest gifts from God ever, Charles and Henry.
We are grandparents with another grandchild on the way in three weeks. Just like in our 30s, the family is growing again. But this time it isn’t one at a time. The growth is exponential. I have two new men in my life, my sons-in-law. Two adult daughters who are moms. Three grandchildren. My two sons are men. One is dating a wonderful young lady, and the other is just about to graduate college and start a wonderful life.
Then there is the work confusion.
Do I keep doing the same thing I have been doing for the last 25 years? If I do something different, do I lose my network and position in the Atlanta tech community?
I was talking to Bob, a former business partner and close friend, who is now retired. He said, “People would ask me what I do for a living. I would say I am a CEO of a software company. That would start a great conversation. I made some great contacts that way. Now I tell them I am retired. They nod and walk away. I lost my platform!”
I don’t want to lose my platform! Worse yet, I don’t want to voluntarily give it up. But at the same time, I don’t want to keep the pace and investment risk profile of the existing platform. I also want to spend more time with my growing family. I know there is nothing more important than that.
Bob made a statement that really hit me hard. He said, “Somehow I believe these upcoming years will count more than all the other years I’ve lived.”
That’s why I’m confused.
I have new duties as a father of married children. I am in the new role of grandfather. My passion to be a lead angel investor is waning. Kathy and I are six years away from turning 70, and we are in good health. The next generation of angel investors has surfaced in Atlanta. Ahead of me are new roles, new jobs, new opportunities, new challenges and new impact.
Most importantly, Jesus remains.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. My mission of sharing the Gospel is still front and center. The only question is which platform do I use and what are my priorities at this stage in my life.
It is time to pray. God will give me the answers, just like he’s done for the last 45 years. He has a plan for my life. I can count on it. And that’s comfort, despite the confusion. I am His.