Thursday, November 18, 2010

Out of the Dark

Arwork availabe at
 What would you do if you found out that you had only two months left to live? That’s the question a dear family friend is struggling to answer this morning. He went to the doctor a few weeks ago for pain and today he’s reeling with from the worst news of his life: cancer. They gave him 2 months to 2 years to live. I’m still a bit in shock. 

Just as my mom was sharing this tragic news with me about one of our family’s oldest friends, I was reading this post over at Memorable Moments on “11 Things to Achieve before 11.11.11.” My first thought was what would you want to achieve if you had even less time than that. I really can’t imagine being given a life ultimatum as dire as two months. Would you fight the cancer? Or would you throw all of your time and effort into having the best two months you could ever imagine?

In the end, I guess it comes down to hindsight, right? If it turned out that you beat the cancer and lived for another ten years, fighting it would have been the right thing to do. If, on the other hand, you spent two months fighting and died in three, perhaps it wasn’t the best idea. The problem is that we don’t have the benefit of hindsight when we’re forced to make those excruciating life decisions. Faith and personality would end up being the determining factors, I think. I think my faith and my personality wouldn’t let me give up. Then again, who knows what I might think in that particular moment.

Thankfully, I’m blessed to stand at a far different moment right now, which leads me to my second thought upon reading the “11 Things t Achieve Before 11.11.11” post. By 11.11.11, I’ll be 30 years old. I’ve feared turning 30 for the last nine years. To me, 30 always represented a mid-life checkpoint moment….have I achieved the things I intended to achieve by the time I got here? Up until this year, many of those things were left unfulfilled. I think that’s why 30 has always been such a sore spot for me.

As I move closer to the 30th year of my life, I fear it less and less. My younger self had two distinct criteria (and many more nebulous ones) for success by age 30.
1. Two kids, and family building completed, by the age of 30.
2. Successful career, preferably having received the coveted “manager” title.
Now those requirements look kind of silly…a benefit of hindsight, of course. No, we won’t have our two kids by the time I turn 30, and now I know that there may not even be two kids in our future at all. But, I have my one perfect baby boy and if he’s the one child God planned for our family to have then so be it! A year ago, when were up to our necks in infertility testing and it all felt so insurmountable, I felt so much pressure about having at least one child by 30. LMH is such a gift that I feel beyond blessed to have had one child by 30, let alone worrying about not having had two!

As for that second requirement, I’m not sure I’ll have it fulfilled by 30 either. But, I’m more and more okay with that. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’m striving towards a better work-life balance now that LMH is here. Perhaps it’s the fact that I love my job as is, and I know it’s moving in that direction just not necessarily on my timeline. Perhaps it’s the fact that I feel confident that the company I work for is the perfect place for me, if I choose to stay in Corporate America. Or perhaps it’s that I’m actively seeking new outlets that could lead me in an entirely unexpected direction (like my soon to be announced new blog project). Whatever the reason, I’m okay with not being a manager by June of next year. In fact, I might be okay with not being a manager at all….a younger me shudders at the thought!

So, as I read Sonal’s post, I realized that I don’t know what I want to achieve before 11.11.11. I need new goals, because my old ones seem so shortsighted. I want to be a better me…a me who’s at peace with where and who I am. I want to take a more active stance in our community, reach out to new people, make lasting friends in our hometown. I want to define the direction that I will take for the next decade of my life. It’s interesting that when I started my 20s I wanted to be doing exactly what I am now, working at a successful airline (so I can check off that goal). But, as I begin my 30s, I’m not sure that I want the same things.

It’s time to do some soul searching. What might I accomplish in twelve months if I tackled it with the gusto of someone who’s just been given two months to live? While I’m struggling to answer that question, I pose it to you, as well…. 


Anonymous said...

Wow! that makes two of us turning 30 in almost a year :) Congratulations on your baby boy :) It's so nice to have found your blog.. n thanks so much for making me a part of your reflections & this post. I pray that you come up with the most fulfilling things to achieve in the year to come. It's beautiful how some experiences lead us to value life even more than ever before :) Wishing all the best to your friend and I do hope n pray they recover from cancer and lead a great life ahead!

Anonymous said...

Hello~ Lovely post! *laughs* I'll be 40 by 11.11.11 (in a few months, actually)and had so many things planned for the big 4-0. I think sometimes our lives our not ours to plan, more like falling asleep on the subway and getting off at a different stop. We just have to be creative to get to where we want to go.
I'm so glad you stopped by my blog~ I look forward to getting to know you.
take care~Amy

Lorna said...

I looked at turning 30 much the same way. 30 was "grown up" and upon it's passing I should be responsible and have a plan for my future. Eh. I am now on the downhill side of my 30's, still not sure what I'm doing career wise, and just enjoying raising my kids (as much as one can enjoy the angsty teen and pre-teen years). I've given up on thinking that I will ever know what I'm "supposed" to be doing.

Deb (aka Fannie Applecrack) said...

Thanks for visiting my blog hop. I'm following you now - love your blog.

va_grown said...

What if they told you that you've got 3 months and you walked out of the office and got hit by a bus? I hate to sound cruel, but I've unfortunately learned the hard way that you've got to try to live intentionally every day, for good or for bad, because you're not guaranteed a chance to make up for it later. It sounds like you've got a good feel for that.

My "little" sister is turning 30 next year and was asking me about it. I felt...upset?...for about two days and then it just breezed right by. By 30 my life was too busy to worry about how old I was--of course, I feel perpetually 26, so...:)

This seems to get to that idea of "bucket lists" that are talked about so much.

Michelle Saunderson said...

You need to realize that 30 is just a number. I just turned 40 and am happier than when I was 30. As for what my goals are, I'm not making any. I have learned that nothing in my life has gone according to plan and it has turned out just fine. I am trying to figure out how to make money from home, but other than that, I take each day as it comes. Enjoy life. Look at the miracle of it all and just smile!

Enjoy Country Living said...

Thanks for visiting Enjoy country living and Entering our giveaways. I'm a new follower of your blog. Very interesting reading. Life is great at any age and I am enjoying the journey. I do feel mentally 20 though. Hugs

Sonora said...

I can really relate to this post. Turning 30 this year was really hard for me. It took me about 6 months to come to grips with it and even still I sometimes struggle. It is hard to figure out who we are and how that fits in with who we were and who we will be. I think 30's are all about figuring that out and becoming comfortable with it.
As far as what to do with my time, I truly try to live in the moment every day. I try to enjoy all of the little things because I know someday a lot of those little things (with the kids) will be gone. Just treasure every moment and live in the now.
Great post!

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