This is a fictional story. (Or is it?)
Carl is just your average guy. As a normal, middle-aged businessman, he doesn’t think about life very much. Therefore, he doesn’t realize that his entire existence is made up of—and, in fact, confined to—four compartments: work, family, hobbies, and “me time.”
The Life of Your Average Guy
Work is where Carl finds much of his identity. He feels capable on the job, and people seem to admire him as a hard worker, so 40-hour weeks are a rarity. Consistently, most of his energy and too much of his time are consumed each day by the heads-down pursuit of getting things done.
Carl sees himself as a good family man. He’s mostly nice to his wife, except when she does those things that make him so angry. He sees his kids a good bit; they watch TV while he checks email on his laptop, and he dutifully endures his share of Little League games and dance recitals.
He gets most excited about his hobbies. Carl never met a golf course he didn’t like, and he loves going hunting with the boys. They banter about—predictably—work, family, and hobbies, and he is not aware they don’t talk about anything else. Going deep is not something he is too familiar with.
Carl’s “me time” starts with a few drinks after work; he deserves to relax after a tough day, right? More often that anyone knows, except his increasingly fearful wife, those drinks often lead to a few more. And, after his wife goes to bed, he doesn’t see any harm in checking out a few of those not-to-be-discussed sites on the internet.
As a kid, Carl went to church with his parents because, well, they told him to. And he still goes because, well, you’re supposed to. He occasionally gets something out of the sermon, and he likes a few of the songs. Overall, he believes that pretty much takes care of what’s needed church-wise.
Carl is busy and doesn’t think about much outside his four compartments. He is your average guy, and he doesn’t have the time or inclination to explore any of those softer areas such as:
- Personal development
- Emotional well-being
- Spiritual growth
- Serving others
For your average guy, what’s the point of worrying about stuff like that?
The Rest of the Story
But, lately, some feelings have been nagging at Carl, and he’s not quite sure what they mean.
He is starting to feel less fulfilled by his work-dominant routine. Is that what life is really all about? His ears perk up when someone mentions purpose or significance because he’s become aware he doesn’t know his purpose or where this significance thing is found. But, when these thoughts invade his compartments, he shoves them out, and his “me time” helps slam the door behind them.
And then, all of a sudden, the kids are grown and gone. He looks around and notices his marriage has become routine, even stale. So, he responds by retreating into his hobbies and “me time.”
And, all of a sudden, Carl—the hard worker—is retired. Another compartment is closed off, and the holes in his life loom larger.
And, all of a sudden, he is old, and golf and hunting become not worth the trouble anymore.
And then he dies.
Question: Do you know anyone that resembles that description of Carl, your average guy?
Action: Determine that you will think about each of the compartments in your life, and include the areas of personal development, emotional well-being, spiritual growth, and serving others.