Thursday, December 28, 2023

"To Be or Not to Be?" The Question That Answers Itself

contemplation #2

Twenty years ago, I chronicled blog posts leading up to my milestone 50th Birthday. At that time, I was dreaming about what I was going to “be when I grow up.” Children off to college, divorce drama quieted, and a career doing what I considered good work. Life was finally opening for me, giving me the opportunity to do “all those things” I had planned.

Who knew I would be unceremoniously perp-walked (along with the majority of the award-winning team I was part of) out of the job I thought I would have for life. Who knew that seeking a new position would become a trudge through unanswered applications, waste-of-time interviews, and real anxiety about bankruptcy and homelessness. I had never in my life not gotten a job I applied for. The employment world threw water on me, and I melted like the Wicked Witch of the West. “Oh, what a world!”

I’m not going to recite the adventures of those intervening years, except to say, my children grew up to be successful adults (and parents), I’ve been gainfully employed, (in fact I have three areas of “work” to keep me busy), and—after suspecting, and being content with a home for just me and my dog—I found the love of my life. We were committed to each other in Vegas, at the top of the Stratosphere with enthusiastic onlookers hanging over the railings of the next floor.

I’m ready to chronicle 2024 to mark a new one-year countdown to another landmark birthday. I know that I am less interested in what I want to “be” and more focused on who I “am.”  I am reducing my fixation on distant success landmarks. I am not giving up on any of the work I love to do, just teaching myself to be more in the present. And if, in the present, I must backtrack, change my path or forge through a quagmire, I will do it mindfully.

 It does come as a surprise that “are you still working?” is a constant query, by medical professionals, casual acquaintances, and every piece of medical plan solicitation, “Hurry up! Time is running out!” I know they mean the “enrollment period,” but it is a reminder that time is running out in a more final way. Of course, just as in the Wicked Witch’s hourglass timer, the sand starts pouring the day we are born, and eventually runs out.

January 1, 2024 is right around the corner. April 7, 2025 is not that far away. Time to grab that broomstick, because I’ll soon be cruising somewhere at 70 – whether it is a milestone, steppingstone or stumbling block!

©2023 Noreen Braman




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