Take Mel Gibson, for example. The handsome leading guy is now a well-seasoned 54 years old. I remember 15 or so years ago when Mel was the heartthrob of the Lethal Weapons and Mad Max movie franchises, one of my favorite little restaurants in California had Gibson’s photo on the back side of their table-top wine list. We’d read the wine list and turn it around to gaze on his face whenever my girlfriends and I would go there for lunch. One day I asked the manager, “Why the photo of Mel? Does he have something to do with this place?”
“Not at all,” was the reply. “We just like the photo.”
Recently Gibson was interviewed for his new movie, “Edge of Darkness,” a story about a father seeking revenge for his daughter’s death.
When asked about his age, Gibson replied, “This journey is more than half over. I’m way past the halfway mark. It’s kind of scary. And you ask yourself, ‘What the hell have I really done? What I have I accomplished?’ And it seems pretty puny…we’re all so transient. The mission is leave something.” (Reported by Geoff Boucher, McClatchy-Tribune, Jan. 28, 2010).
Yes, indeed. The mission is to leave something. It seems like the older we get – the farther past that halfway mark we travel – the more this mission seems to take on urgency. It’s time to take stock. It’s time to think about what we’re leaving behind.
Maybe that’s why so many of us find new passions in our past-halfway years. We start new businesses that follow our passions, rather our business sense. We volunteer; we organize; we reach out.
Consciously or unconsciously, we’re fulfilling our greatest mission: leave something.
Thanks, Mel, for the thought.
And thanks, too, for getting old right along with the rest of us.