Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Girl Has to Know What She Wants

My mother told me a story of a friend of hers who said, “It’s just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor man.” In her mind, she had a vision of what she wanted for her life, and she did marry a rich man (mostly because she never dated any poor ones). Because she and my mom went different directions with their lives, we’ll never know if achieving that goal made her happy or not, but for today, her story is one of knowing about our own inner wants and doing what is necessary to achieve them.

At this point, it would be easy for me to stumble along the path of all my writing goals and yada, yada, yada. But I’m not going there (querying is hard enough without all that gushing and hoping and praying and pleading and writhing). Instead, I’m going to share another goal (I’ve got bazillions of them).

I want to live to be 113 years old. Yup, that’s what I want. And I want to be healthy, fit, happy, and still writing. (During my conversations with my inner selfness, it might have been mentioned that if I just keep writing and submitting and outlive all the agents who reject me, I’ll have a chance at the next generation of agents and the ones after what, when ebooks are history and novels are downloaded directly into our brains.)

So, 113. The number itself came out of a conversation with one of my favorite people, who happens to be a former student of mine. She told me I’m never allowed to get old and die, so we negotiated a deal that I would live to be 113 and she would be ninety something and we could die at the same time, like Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. A perfect plan.

But after we made that plan, I started to wonder about us wonky humans. I feel odd to have an “age of mortality” goal, but shouldn’t we all have an idea about how long we want to live and how we want those years to go? Isn’t it more odd that most of us don’t give it much thought? Maybe we feel that the cards are already dealt, or we don’t want to think about how our actions today could affect how many days we get with our grandkids (or granddogs if we aren’t fortunate enough to ever have kids).

I think about it sometimes when I’m walking into my building and see how many people will brave terrible weather to smoke (smoking is not for sissies in a climate like this). I really don’t believe that any of them would want to give up the days they have with their loved ones, and yet they are. Maybe the enormity of mortality sends us into a fugue state, from whence denial springs.

My 113-year goal has made me think about the way I live my life. I’m a bit of a health nut anyway, and this has made my dedication even greater. But today, I’m not really thinking of food choices, but rather mental choices. I joke about it, but I really don’t want to be a snarky old lady, with a pointy-tipped cane screeching at young kids to, “Get off my lawn!”

And then I read this news article about the death of the last combat veteran from World War I and that got me thinking even more. What a plucky, awesome guy he was, who only lived to be 110 (I know, 3 years shy of my goal). His life teaches so much about staying positive no matter what happens, being true to self, and sharing love with family and friends. His life made me want to live mine better, to be more grateful, to laugh more, and even when querying, to not take life too seriously.

After all, I’ve got somewhere around 26,741 days left to go; I better get cracking!

Quote for the Day from L.M. Montgomery in Rainbow Valley

“It is never quite safe to think we have done with life. When we imagine we have finished our story fate has a trick of turning the page and showing us yet another chapter.”


Kasie West said...

Yes, I have heard this insane goal of yours. I'm sorry, but unless I can become some super human paranormal creature, I'm good with 80 something. :) So have fun living 20 years longer than me. But you're right, it's how we live that matters.

Debra Lynn Lazar said...

I think it's fascinating that your follower total is 113. Hmmm...

The Golden Eagle said...

I hope the sum of those 113 years turns out to be a happy one. :)

Andrew Leon said...

Well, not to let reality intrude, but I was reading recently that how old one lives to be is, somewhat (okay, more than somewhat), determined by genetics. Barring accidental death and disease, we will live about as long as our parents do and they live about as long as their parents, etc, etc. Diet and lifestyly do not greatly affect this number. -Maybe- by a few years, but not much more than that.

This is what this means: it doesn't matter how healthy you are, if both of your parents lived out their lives and died natural deaths around the age of 60-65, so will you. However, if you are completely unhealthy but your parents lived to 90, you'll probably get pretty close to that, too.
It's really not very fair.

Anyway, not trying to pop your bubble, but what you said, of course, made me think of that article.
And there are always exceptions.

Julie said...

I just submitted my information to a life expectancy calculator for fun, and it said my life expectancy is 102 years old. We'll just see about that. :)

Laura Marcella said...

Great goal! Just remember to makes those days worth it so that when you look back on your 113 years of life, you have no regrets and would happily do it all over again. :)

Love the quote at the end!