If you only had 10 years

It’s Monday, which usually smacks me in the face like a door that someone in front of me unexpectedly let go.  In typical Monday fashion, I packed a lunch and promptly left it on the kitchen table. I did at least remember to gas up George yesterday when I went to the grocery.

The Man and I will both be turning 40 this year. One of us much sooner than the other, but we’re not going to discuss that.

I wish I could tell you we felt like competent adults, but I don’t think either of us really does. Every new age and stage of life seems to produce new challenges to our collective  ability to get all four wheels of our metaphorical shopping cart pointed in the same direction. For example, having a teenager means we have a backup sitter for the Small Girl. And yet, having a teenager also means Extra Curricular Activities like Drama Club and Venture Crew, the travel to and from which requires additional logistical support from me and The Man.

It’s in the scrambling to manage and cover these kinds of small details of life that we often lose perspective of anything resembling a Bigger Picture. We lose the thread of narrative in our lives as we freak out over this kind of stuff.

I’ll be forty this year, which means, for most people “mid life.” Except in the case of my mom, it turned out to be “almost done with this life.” Of course, she didn’t know that at 40, she only had about ten years left till her personal expiration date. We don’t usually get that kind of notice.

Still, it makes me think about what a person can accomplish in ten years. It’s a long enough time that you could conceivable accomplish some pretty huge stuff, but it’s still a short enough time that it’d create a sense of urgency if it was all you had. Would your five year or ten year plan be different (or, in my case, exist) if that was all the time you were going to get in this world?

I’m starting off my 40th year having almost unexpectedly accomplished a major “bucket list” item in completing a long form writing project for publication. I think I’m going to give some thought to what I’d like to try and tackle with the rest of the year, and maybe the next nine after that.

On a similar note, I’ve started pondering the idea that maybe life is more like a Choose Your Own Adventure book than I thought. What do you think? If you had 10 years of full mental and physical capacity left, what would you do with them?


  1. ·

    I’d do exactly what I’m doing now. At 62 (in the fall), I have lots of “choose your own adventure” trails behind me, and I’m lucky enough to like the trail I’m on.

    One thing I’d do is nag you to write more, submit more, get on with your writing, so I can read lots of it in my remaining time. 🙂

    1. Kat French

      Ha! Well, I have three or four stories in the works now. Will that do?


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