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Children, their hearts full of wonder and excitement, often dream of what their future holds.  Although their ideals may change often, at any given time they hold very clear aspirations in regards to career paths, family and travel.  The world is their oyster and time is infinite... 

When was the last time you did a stock-take of your life?  Are you happy in your current situation?  Do you hold clear aspirations for your future or has be busyness of life blurred your vision?

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to work with children and to make a difference in people's lives.  I dreamed of becoming an accomplished roller-skater and later, a world-class ballroom dancer.  And whilst I enjoyed music and art, I held no great aspirations in either vocation.  In fact, the one aspect of my future that I was certain of was falling love, marrying and having at least two children.

As a teen, I worked at our local roller skating rink and then a bakery/cafe.  I also volunteered at a conductive education centre working with babies and pre-schoolers with cerebral palsy.  I spent my spare time training and competing.  I fell in love and had my heart broken.

As I entered adulthood, I studied Psychology followed by Human Resource Management.  After a brief dalliance working in finance, I returned to my passion working in recruitment and HR.  I fell in love with and married my dance partner.  Then my world was shattered by the loss of my father to cancer and I grew up. 

In the past decade, I have built, driven and sold a variety of businesses: from life casting to web site design and hosting.  My dance shoes and dresses eventually succumbed to the same fate as my roller-skates and leotards: gathering dust in a cupboard awaiting an unknown future.  I gave birth to my beautiful daughter and became all-consumed in being the best parent that I could be.

Today, I spend my days in paid employment (in the Performing Arts Costume department of a school) and evenings working on my web sites.  Without a doubt, every day I am making a difference in people's lives.  Whenever circumstances allow, I indulge in my passion for the arts: from music and dance to writing, photography and crafts.  I remain (mostly) happily married and my daughter brings me infinite joy. 

I cannot deny the fact that I am living most of my childhood aspirations.  But am I truly happy?

Well, I have been existing in a cloud of ever-increasing stress levels for the past year.  To say that I am utterly exhausted doesn't begin to describe how I feel both physically as well as emotionally.  My paid work has become all-consuming: to the detriment of my family, friends and my soul.  I cannot sustain this existence for much longer and have vowed to implement changes before the year's end if things haven't improved before then.  In order to make those changes, I need a clear picture of what I want my future to be - which is easier said than done when I'm living from one week to the next, from one day to the next, from one hour to the next.  For that is all I can manage right now and by all counts, I have all the time in the world to worry about the future - just as soon as I survive the now.

However, I (like most people) find my vision a great deal clearer when presented with mortality and a finite end to time.

If you were told that you had just one more year to live, how would you spend the time?

I posed this question to a friend and colleague this morning.  She too is a mother and whilst her children are almost grown, we share similar interests in the arts and hold similar ideals.  So I was somewhat surprised by her response.  If given just one year to live, my friend would pour her energy into setting up her own business. 

"But why?", I asked as I couldn't for the life of me understand.  

So she explained: "Because it is something I always wanted to do."  The light went on and I completely understood.  This was her aspiration: to create something that both she and her children could be proud of which, if successful, would ensure her children's future.

I too want to make my mark on the world and to make my life 'worthwhile'.  But rather than being remembered for sporting successes or career achievements, I want to be remembered for my loving, caring and compassionate nature.  My wish is to leave behind fond memories for loved ones as well as to create tangible objects which will touch people's lives long into the future.  If I had just one year to live, I would spend more time reading, writing, cooking, crafting, dancing, playing music, and above all else, being more available to my family and friends.

 

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