Posted by: minnow | January 1, 2010

Reflections and Projections, Of Course

Why is it this time of year most of us start thinking in terms of goal setting and making promises to ourselves to do one thing better or to quit doing some other thing?  If instead of January starting the cycle over it just became Anotherber that was followed by Merriary and no month repeated would our re-evaluation cycles just get shorter (become monthly)?  Would we set some kind of arbitrary review schedule, say every ten months just to keep it metric?  Or would we simply quit the whole looking back and looking ahead modus operandi?  Of course none of the answers to these questions actually need exploring but they are a fun little distraction from the true topic of this post, which is: what is the point of mentally moving back and forth?  (When you hear “back and forth” don’t you think of a side to side motion rather that a behind ahead motion?–Rabbit trail, sorry).  Anyway…the point?

What does reflecting on the past and projecting into the future accomplish?  Obviously not everyone is the same so the answer is probably different for different folks as well.  But for me, reflecting and projecting gives my life a bit of stability.  I actually arrived here from somewhere and hey, I really am going some place! Woo!  Woo!  The funny part, for me, is that I have never been one to plan too far ahead or make too many promises to myself for the future.  In other words, I do not like New Year’s resolutions.  I can never keep the diet and exercise ones and the rest just seem a little self-serving–Look at me!  I just got a promotion, bought a new car, went on a cruise!  Yeah. Wow.  Woopie…

Now even as I say that, I am wrestling with a thought which began to formulate about two-week ago.  What if God Himself told me I would live to be 100?  Would knowing I had that much time left change what I decided to do with it?  I have to say it would.  I don’t mind the thought of a couple more years of graveyards, switching to a day shift when my daughter starts school and retiring a few years after that.  But 50 more years of this?!  Never!  Double my pay and I still don’t think I could do what I am doing for 50 more years.

Well, that question led to the next:  what would you like to do? and I have not quite been able to shake the answer.  As I look back on my life I see two very distinct forks: one right after I graduated from college and the other at the end of my sophomore year.  After I graduated, I seriously considered going into the Peace Corp.  In fact I had all the paper work filled out and turned it.  When I was contacted for step two I said I had changed my mind and that was the end of it.  Had the stint been for a shorter time I might have actually done it.  But, I was afraid and chickened out.  After all they don’t usually send Peace Corp volunteers to places like London, Paris, or Rome and I honestly do not like hot weather.  Today the foreign country option would take on a slightly different flavor but still, I do not think this old body could handle being a journalist (photo or otherwise) in some place like Afghanistan.

The second fork I mentioned is the one that keeps poking at me.  I was a political science major.  My plan was to go from college to law school and eventually into politics.  These plans were derailed when I was in my advisor’s office, picking my classes for the next semester and he very casually said to me, “You know, someday you’ll make a great politician’s wife.”  I was a deer in the headlights.  I did not know what to say.  I had never before been faced with the idea that because I am a woman some people actually see me as less than.  I allowed that remark to create a fork in the road and change the path I was on.  I left my advisor’s office, changed my major, and never again entertained the idea of actually  going to law school or getting into politics, until two weeks ago.

Two weeks ago I began wondering what I would need to do in order to take the L-SAT.  I have not been a serious student for 25 years.  Is this the beginning signs of dementia?  How in the world can I seriously think of adding law school to my already swamped schedule?  Well, in the first place the school part cannot actually happen for another year and a half (besides taking the L-SAT I would need to make an application to law school, be accepted, and figure out how to pay for it).  By then our youngest will start school herself and the junior I currently home school will have graduated. 

Honestly, I do not know how it will work out.  I do not know who will want a 55-year-old lawyer, which is what I will be if I take the prescribed three years to graduate, when I am finished.  and, I am not sure what I will “do” with it once I get a law degree.  What I do know is that I would prefer to do something that actually benefits the marginalized.  If I can not find enough time to both have a job and volunteer somewhere that helps then maybe making my job be one that helps is a step in the right direction.  As a lawyer perhaps I can be a voice for those who feel voiceless or at least help them figure out who to talk to.

And yeah if I lived to be 100, I would need to take better care of my body.  Afterall, who wants to live to be 100 if they are going to be wheelchair bound and taking food through a straw at 70?



  1. Happy new year! As Kathy has prayed for me — I’ll pray for you to have the courage to listen to whatever direction God leads you 🙂

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