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First, let me say that I feel for you. Really, I do.

I remember what it was like being twenty-three. You feel like you're sixteen, but everyone expects you to act like an adult. You look at all the people around you and think that their parents/teachers/scoutmasters/pastors told them the secret of life and how to get by, and yours just forgot to mention it. The infinite horizon to your late twenties has suddenly shrunk to two years. You have been out of high school for five years and you think you should have made a mark in the world at this point in your life. It is a very lonely place and frustrating place to be.

Now, I am going to give you some good news and some bad news.

First the bad news: it doesn't get any better.

The good news: you learn not to care.

Let me explain. I am speaking to you from the great beyond: the late thirties. I am about two years away from my fortieth birthday. My concerns anymore don't revolve around making an impact of the universe and a name that everyone in the world will recognize. I couldn't care less what kind of car I drive, just as long as it gets me where I am going. I don't worry about whether I am a mover and shaker in my chosen field. I am more concerned if I just did my best for the day that I completed. I'm not concerned about whether I impress the people around me with my possessions, as long as what I have meets my family's needs.

The trap we fall into is in the phrase "be somebody." What does being somebody mean to you? If it means having nice things and being the envy of those jerks in high school who made fun of you, then you are in for a long empty life. If it means pursuing some nebulous dream of success, then you are likely to find it a brass ring that you can never quite reach. But if being somebody means investing in the lives of your friends and family then you will find the rest of this stuff just doesn't matter.

Last Saturday night, I had three high school girls knock on door of my townhouse while my wife and I sat on the couch watching TV. They are students I teach in my church's youth group. Why did they come by? For no other reason than to sprawl across our living room floor, play with our cats, and talk until 11:40 when they had to get home. We have invested in their lives for the last couple of years and are seeing the return.

Am I the rich? No. Am I powerful? No. Am I popular? No. Am I somebody?

Oh, yeah.