Monday, January 19, 2009

My Pledge and Challenge

I have been on this earth for three 10-year terms. 

My first term I'd call the "physically learning stage". The next I'd call the "physically maturing stage". By the end of this second term, would you agree that most people are done growing physically (and though they may continue to grow stronger during the third term, for the most part, the dramatic physical changes happen in these first two terms)?

What is significant about the third term? Physically we have grown into adult-sized humans. But what about the other parts of being a creation with thoughts and feelings and emotions? I believe each person is created with 4 parts - body, soul, mind, and spirit. In the first two 10-year terms of life, our body and mind grow rapidly. Our spirit is influenced along the way and our personality- the parts we were born with along with our life experiences- takes shape. The personality is most likely established in the first 10-year term. And I can only assume that the soul is simply along for the ride until we reach the age where we recognize it's role in our life and begin to care about it. And that's what I think the third 10-year term is. A recognition of and dealing with our own soul. Most of us at the age of 20 move out from under a parent's protection and care to begin our own adventure, realizing that we can, for the most part, do what we want, when we want, with whomever we want. And that is a freedom that needs to be experienced! So the third term I'd call the "soul freedom and learning stage."

As I think about my last 10 years, I wonder what significant things I have accomplished. I graduated college, which in this country is fairly common because the U.S. is a very educated nation. But on a global scale, graduating college is pretty significant! There are probably millions of people that would give anything to experience and learn on a university level. So yes, that is an accomplishment. But what else? I mean, finishing college was 9 years ago. Other than college, I can't think of many accomplishments. But this is not a bad thing! Here's why: my third 10-year term has been all about the inside. Taking what I've learned and putting it to the test. My education gained in school, in church, in the working world, from friends... taking all of this and learning it again, but not from a book or from a teacher in a classroom. I've learned it working at a summer camp, living with my parents again after college, applying for jobs, working at a job that did not fit my personality, dating great girls, dating not so great girls, arguing and laughing and trusting and not trusting friends, starting new relationships and ending unhealthy ones, travelling out of the U.S., working in maintenance, attending a phenomenal church with authentic Biblical teaching, and by watching my family grow into the next generation. And in my third term, I became an adult. Not when I turned 20 years old, but it happened when I felt my heart burning for Nashville, Tennessee.

Turning 30 is a milestone, so I wanted to take time to reflect and so far, 2009 has been just that. Looking back to see where I've been, what I've done, the up's and down's, the life and death I've experienced and discovering that all of it is for a purpose. It's all building towards something great. That is why I am making a pledge to you, to myself, to anyone who will listen: I will never settle for a mediocre life. When I complete another 30 years or in the next 60, I don't want to look back and wonder where life happened. I will not be average. I will not be regular. I will not be boring. No decade of my life has been mediocre yet, and I will not let it start now. To accomplish this simple goal, I will stick to my motto from 2008 and it is this:

To grow in my relationship with God and people, and be involved in significant things.

Focusing on these 3 ideas, I don't believe anyone would have a mediocre life! It's a simple thought that I hope will overthrow any possible routine or average lifestyle I may fall into. "Grow in my relationship with God" by reading the Bible and talking to God about my life and what He wants. "Grow in my relationship with people" by spending time with my friends, making new friends, and caring when people need to be cared for. "Be involved in significant things" by being aware of what's going on around me, and choosing to take part in what I believe will have a positive affect on people, society, the country and the world.

That's it. Pretty simple, I think. This is my motto for for 2009, and my pledge to you is also my challenge to you: How will you live this year? 2009 has already begun and the clock is ticking. Will you choose to be regular? Will you choose a mediocre life? Will you let your heart be troubled by the common things in the world? Or will you throw off those troubles and live your next 10-year term, your next year... your next day with significance? I hope so. I will be doing the same in Tennessee.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

30 Things I've Learned In 30 Years

On December 26, 2008 I turned 30 years old. I wanted to search through all of my journal entries, but I didnt have that much time, so I spent a few days compiling a lot of the thoughts and lessons I learned, the heart behind much of my journal writing. So I've chosen what I think are the best 30 and made them into this list. I'd love to hear your thoughts, reactions, stories, or objections to what I list, thanks for reading! (also, I attempted to put these in order of my life, from a child, through high school, through college and through my early years as a working professional, all the way up to 2008.)

there's nothing like growing up with my 3 best friends and a great beagle.

that I'm special. My mom taught me that when I was very young.

that one way I could make my mom happy was to bring her flowers, especially purple ones.

when my mom says she'll put my dinner in the sink unless I stop fighting with my brother, she means it.

I understand why "the great generation" was called "the great generation" because I've watched my grandparents MomMom and Pop and MeMom and Granddaddy.

I've learned that things change (I remember vividly saying that I can't imagine not watching cartoons on Saturday morning).

fighting fire with fire is not the best gameplan. Fighting fire with water is better. My brother was a wrestler in high school, and while my strength didnt match his, I found that laughing while he was twisting me around was the best retaliation.

my sister Shannon talks directly to God in a way I've never seen or heard of before.

that women like my mom and sisters are rare. hidden gems that once they are found, are treasured.

if the choice is between a good friend and a girl, always choose the friend.

when my back is against the wall, I fight; I like it that way.

life is less about about what happens to me and more about how I react to it.

it's ok to have a bad day.

people with so-called mental disabilities are often happier than the rest. I think those of us without physical or mental challenges are the ones missing out on something.

I never knew what people meant when they said that children will change your life, but I know now... it's a gift for me to be an uncle.

I've learned that Heaven is probably a lot like St. Teresa Beach, FL.

that I'm a little strange, isn't it great??

I've learned that I'm just like my father, and if in the next 30 years I remind myself of him, that would be a great accomplishment.

that I'll never be stronger or cooler than my brother, but I'll always be taller.

there's nothing else on this earth as quite as beautiful or nearly as frustrating as a woman.

when I'm hungry or sleepy, I can get cranky.

My parents taught me to use "yes ma'am" and "yes sir" and in doing so, they taught me respect. I will do the same when I am a dad.

I've learned that it's ok that I don't know anything about cars. Does knowing about exhaust manifolds make me a man? I mean, really? I take my car to the dealer when something goes wrong and take it to Super Lube for an oil change.

the only thing my failed dating relationships have in common is me.

I've learned that simple living prevents headaches.. and helps me sleep at night.

I don't regret having regrets.

that I will look back and hold deep in my heart the many fishing trips I have taken and will take with my dad. But especially the trips where we caught a fish!

that one of the best late night snacks is a bowl of honey nut cheerios.

when I was 27 in Nashville, TN, I watched the Runyeon family celebrate the life of Carol Ann Runyeon, and I will never forget the way they rejoiced about her life and her legacy.

going to Vietnam with my sister and brother in law changed my life.

B. Wilder: An Introduction

My name is Ben Wilder. I am 30 years old. I live in Nashville, Tennessee. I was 26 when I moved here from Tallahassee, Florida, where in 2001 I graduated from The Florida State University. I am the 4th and youngest child in the Wilder family. I have 2 older sisters and an older brother. My parents are still married, and will just celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary at the end of December 2008. They live in Florida. My oldest sister and my brother also live in Florida. My other sister lives in Ohio.

I am caucasion, I weigh about 153 pounds. I am about 5 feet 9 inches in height. I am left-handed but I cut with scissors using my right hand because finding a pair of left handed scissors is not easy. I will most likely write a blog about this at some point. Growing up as a left-handed person is not easy and I will explain why in that blog. Stay tuned.

I am single, never been married. The longest relationship I've had to date is a month and a half. You may think I am shallow or afraid of commitment because of the short length of these relationships. I hope you are wrong. I tend to find out pretty quickly that a relationship will or will not work. I suppose it takes me about a month and a week to figure this out. So far no relationship has turned into a marriage. I cherish my role as a brother, as a son, and as an uncle. One day I may be married, but no matter what I will always be a brother, a son, and an uncle and I want to be the best at each.

My skills and talents are currently being utilized in video production. Besides working on side projects, I get paid weekly to be a production assistant at Country Music Television in downtown Nashville. I work on the Top 20 Countdown with a great host, a great producer, a great associate producer and a great crew. The environment at CMT is not like any other job environment I've had, and for that I am thankful. No more shaving everyday or wearing collared shirts. Or I can shave everyday and wear a collared shirt. They are very accepting and even encourage each of us to be ourselves. I like that about Viacom and CMT specifically.

I was in church today. And yes, that means I am a follower of Christ.

(Find me someone else who took on the sin of the world and my sin, too, died to take my place, and somehow came back to life and offers all of us eternity with God and I'll consider following them, too! There is no one else, so where else will I go but to Jesus??)

Anyway, so I was talking with a couple of friends and that's when it hit me, I should start a blog. I've never done this before, but I am excited about it. I would like to start by posting a blog at the beginning of each month and then see where it goes.

So, thank you for checking this out! Please leave feedback. I'd love to know your thoughts about whatever it is I am writing about at the time. I by no means think I have special knowledge or insider information about what life is all about, so I encourage you to present your opinion, whether you agree with what I write about or if you have a different perspective on it.

I hope, at least, you can appreciate what I write.

B. Wilder