I turn 55 on Thursday, Jan. 30. I'm fine with being this "old." In fact, last year, I was fine with being 54, and praying I'd see 55, and here I am! This past 12 months has been the year of just staying alive. I'm looking forward to the upcoming months - but I'm also working on that definition of "alive."
Every year on my birthday (since my 40th birthday) I revisit my funeral plans. I rewrite my last wishes, including distribution of my life insurance policy. I make a copy for Scott, e-mail copies to my kids (they do think it's kinda creepy, but they've grown use to my creepiness), and move forward. Last year I was more than a little worried about what the future would bring, so I spent more time on the details. This year, I'm thinking about not even looking at last year's plans, rather moving ahead as if I have all the time in the world.
When I was a young woman of about 25, I was at our congregation's women's dinner. I was sitting at a table of women my age. An older woman came up to us and said, "I may look 62, but in my heart I'm 25. Do you mind if I join you?" We smiled and invited her to sit with us. I remember thinking - well that lady doesn't want to grow old gracefully! And yet here I am, an old woman, looking my age, but acting . . . well, hmmmm, being me.
Having been given the perfect gift of another year - with health and a NED diagnosis, I'm uber-reflecting and uber-forwarding. Am I where I want to be? Am I who I thought I'd be? Am I who I want to be? Have I accomplished my 20, 10, 5 year goals? In some ways I can say "yes" to all of these points. In others, well, let's see -
What I didn't plan on doing as an adult and did anyway:
1. I'm a statistic more than once - remarried, stepmother, cancer survivor.
2. I am a chaplain.
3. I am a university instructor.
4. I am my parents' neighbor.
5. I have battle scars - or road rash.
6. I am stronger than I ever thought possible.
What I planned on doing, and did:
1. I have a college degree.
2. I am close to my children, they are my friends.
3. I am living with, and traveling with, the love of my life.
4. I am caring for others - as a professor, a chaplain, a daughter, a grandmother, a mother, a friend, an advocate.
5. I have a home that is a sanctuary for family and friends.
6. I have an eclectic bunch of friends - all ages, all stages.
So for this year, my 56th - what are my goals?
1. Bench press 250.
2. Run a marathon.
3. Ride my bike cross-country.
4. Swim across Utah Lake.
5. Hike Mt. Timpanogos.
Well, not exactly. But, really, the sky is the limit, and next year at this time I hope to look back and say, "I accomplished all I set out to do this past year - I loved, lived, learned, laughed."
Happy Birthday to Me!