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Zen – with urgency December 5, 2011

Posted by Barbara in Uncategorized.

A friend laughed with me the other day about my mid-life crisis (her term).  She’s noticed that I’m all about canoe trips in the wilderness, writing my novel/book, blogging and making a bucket list.

She’s wrong.  It’s much worse than that.  And it’s not a recent personality change.  I’ve always walked/skipped to a syncopated drummer.

I attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison in the early 70’s (enough said).  Since then, from survival camping to learning  to speak Navajo to overhauling industrial turbine engines to my passion for coral reef aquaria – my life choices have always leaned a bit to the road-less-traveled.   Somewhere along the line, I detoured into family life and  we have 4 amazing sons, who bring their own adventures into my world and to this day keep me motivated and enjoying life.  [My sweet husband/best friend isn’t a detour.   We’re traveling this road together all the way.]

But, to be honest, I had settled for a long while, into living inside the box.  You know.  The ticky-tacky construction Steve Jobs talks about in that 47 sec clip that’s making the rounds.   I went to work, and even though I loved and valued what I did, it was long hours and very high stress.  It took a toll on my family and my health.  A few years ago, a couple of health crises made it perfectly clear:   choose to do whatever it takes to live life on my own terms for whatever time I’m given – or settle for rolling inexorably down that broader path.

It is true that I’m somewhere around mid-life – even for an optimist.  At the same time, assuming my life choices are healthy, I may have another 40 years I plan to truly enjoy.   To build a business or write a novel or hike the Wonderland trail.   Hopefully to leave the world a little better in some way.

Thinking of  Steve Jobs, if you haven’t listened to his commencement address at Stanford recently, it deserves a replay.  In fact, we probably should replay it monthly, anyway, as a reminder.

Or follow Chris Guillebeau at The Art of Non-Conformity.  Start with this week’s blog about his new manifesto.   He’s no-where near a mid-life crisis.  But he understands.


This is the beginning of a new day. God has given me this day to use as I will. I can waste it or use it for good. But what I do today is important because I’m exchanging a day of my life for it.

When tomorrow comes this day will be gone forever, leaving in its place that which I have traded. I want it to be gain not loss, good not evil, success not failure.

I know I shall not regret the price I have paid for it because the future is just a whole string of now’s!  ~Lou Holtz



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