By Ken Walker –
In an online world filled with countless ways of marketing one’s services and establishing an identity as an expert, one piece of advice that routinely appears is to never list your age.
Consultants say you will quickly be pigeonholed and shunted aside for younger, “hipper” people who are more attuned to modern technology and expectations. Or so the theory goes.
The thing I never grasped was how to simultaneously pass myself off as young and hip while telling prospective co-authors and book editors I have worked on dozens of books and written thousands of articles. That only happens when you write for a living over a long span of time.
Besides, it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to ask questions like where I attended college (Ohio University) and what year I graduated (1973) to put two and two together and come up with the solution: He’s an old dude.
Enjoying My Work
I may be getting a little long in the tooth. Indeed, in recent months two close friends from childhood retired. A third recently e-mailed me about his plans to hike the Appalachian Trail when he retires in 2017. I wrote back, “I’m having too much fun to retire.”
That is the truth. And since these feelings come on the heels of a brutal 2013, it makes my story that much better.
Last year my business declined precipitously. We endured some personal upheaval in our family early in the year. In April, I had a tumor removed from my scalp. In May and June a skin specialist also cut out trouble spots on my chest and back.
In late July I hurt my back trying to do too much at the park. That ultimately meant nearly four months of physical therapy, followed by a series of visits to a chiropractor.
I thought getting cut open for double bypass surgery in 2008 was the worst pain one could ever experience. Well, walking around for seven months with excruciating back pain ranks a close second.
Even now, although the pain is down a minimal level, it still has a tendency to flare up if I do too much walking or engage in other activity that strains my back.
Cue the Orchestra
All this added up to a prescription for a massive pity party, complete with black tie dinner and a 100-piece orchestra playing the tune: “Poor Ken.”
Then, as He always does, God showed me the supposed setbacks I had endured were for my benefit. He was pruning me and helping let go of things that I clung to for no reason other than they were familiar.
Several weeks after revealing this, He showed me I needed to get my proverbial act together. Once I took steps to schedule my time better and work more productively, my workload dramatically increased.
This has made my work harder, not easier. Some days I retreat by late afternoon to a hot bath with four cups of Epsom salt. I started daily baths last fall to ease back pain, but am continuing because it helps soak out the tension and tiredness.
One of the new pieces of work I’ve tackled this year is writing devotionals for GodSpeaks.com. It is a challenge because of the site’s aim to address those who don’t follow Christ or know much about the Bible.
Recently, the site’s manager kicked back something I had written, saying he might use it later but it didn’t really fit the theme. Already behind on a deadline project and still having trouble reaching everyone I hoped to, his note felt like a kick in the gut.
What happened the next day is so amazing it’s worth a separate blog. Read Part 2.