Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mortality.... Using the time we have

Hello to all my lovely readers. I know I have been seriously neglecting you since the engagement, but wow have things been busy!

Erik and I have made the move to California! We are now settling in to our new place in Cardiff by the Sea. The location cannot be beat, and it is great to be back in the Golden State. Erik is toiling away working for the man, and since I have yet to secure full time employment I figured this would be a good time to catch up on my blogging.

This last year has had many ups, and a few downs. The weekend before last I lost my Grandfather. He was 90 years old and lived an amazing life. This man was and is an icon in our family. He grew up on a ranch in Texas during the depression, and went on to become a fighter pilot in WWII and Korea, get a petroleum engineering degree, become an oil executive in the south and midwest, and raise 3 healthy children who went on to have 4 grandchildren (myself included.) He always seemed invincible, and in a way he is. He is a legend and a hero that I will tell my kids about. He made you want to be better, and to always make him proud. I will miss him dearly, but I know that his life was long and full of accomplishment and love.

Dealing with mortality is always difficult. The realization and fear that our time on this planet is not infinite can come as a bit of a shock to someone my age. I am still young enough that something like mortality is a distant thought. I can stay healthy and strong, and I won't have to deal with old age, like, forever, right? Do people have bad luck and get in accidents? Of course. Do people get sick and die? Sure. With modern nutrition, exercise science and medical practices, is almost seems like we can get out of mortality. It is a multi-billion dollar industry after all. If I just try hard enough and do everything right, it won't happen to me. But Grandad was invincible, until he wasn't. No matter how well you live, and how strong you are, either way the end will come eventually.... Bummer.

However it does give us the opportunity to reflect on our own lives. When someone close to you passes it is impossible not to examine your life and see if you are living it to your fullest. I have been doing my best to live my life well, however recently I feel I have fallen short in some categories. Sometimes it is difficult to separate societal expectations and a personal fulfillment, however in this case I think my personal fulfillment is also suffering. Generally my report card looks good. But there is one glaring flaw:

-Family: Great job. Relationships with all relatives are good.
-Friends: Satisfactory. Need more local social connections, but I just moved so i get a pass. Distant friends are supportive. :)
-Health: Good. Healthy diet, active. However activity level should be improved.
-Love life/domestic: Excellent, gold star. Marriage in three months!! :)

***-Professional Goals: NEEDS WORK! Hmm...Got a great scientific degree (geology), worked as a geologist for a couple of years, with a break for some ski resort work. Decided to take a break and work some retail and recreational jobs. Then kind of lost my... train.... of........ right.

I have never put much weight on professional success, however over the last few months I have been feeling the societal pressures of being unemployed, as well as feeling low about not contributing much to Erik and I's financial situation. While I have made myself useful in other ways as the mistress of the house and executive assistant, it just isn't as satisfying.

While professional success has not been the top of my list, I have realized that I do want to do something "meaningful" with my life. But how does one define meaning? My family and friends often ask me what I want to do, and the honest answer is, I don't know. I know I want to help people. I love the outdoors and the environment. I want to make positive changes in the lives of those around me. How do I accomplish this while still paying the bills? Many of the positions I had the most personal satisfaction from payed the worst and had the worst hours. Working at the bike shop was fun and rewarding. How can you not feel all warm and fuzzy all the time when you are helping people get into a sport that you so enjoy. But $9.00/hr while working weekends and holidays all over the map? It may have worked when Erik was in school, but now we like our weekends to ourselves.

So I will continue to search and try to find the missing piece of the puzzle. And for now keep trying to focus on enjoying the opportunities that present themselves. I hope to do some volunteer work so I can at least give back to the community while trying to decide on a path to take. And I know my Grandad would be proud, no matter what i choose. As long as I am satisfied that I am living to my full potential.