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Columns

February 27, 2014

ABBOTT: Spend the time you have wisely

Imagine if someone gave you a five-year period and said, “You can do whatever you want.” What would you do?

I’m moving into a new phase of my life, having completed five years during which I did whatever I wanted to do, including running my own consulting business, community volunteering, and the occasional mid-afternoon nap.

Next week I start a new full-time job with a wonderful health provider.

Five years ago, I could not have imagined what I’ve enjoyed.

I’ve had a bucket list of items before the term “bucket list” existed. The summer before college, three high school friends and I camped at the Indiana Dunes. We had deep conversations on hot July evenings about where our futures might lead.

My list included a smart husband, many children, and a home with Japanese maples, meaningful work involving writing, and travel all over the world.

The smart husband has been hanging around for 30 years (he calls it the “best 18 years of his life”); we have an adult son (naturally the smartest, best-looking young adult ever.)

My vintage 1970s home has two beautiful Japanese maples in the front. I’ve written in every job since 1971, and I’ve been to a few European countries and the Indiana State Fair for vanilla taffy and lemon shake-ups.

Things I couldn’t have imagined when I was 18 showed up on my bucket list five years ago when I started this journey.

My mother died two years ago last week. Because I worked on contract for many health organizations, I was able to help my father in some care-giving duties during the last three years of her life. My brother, who lives near my dad, assisted my parents and now my father on a regular basis. Living 200 miles away I cannot be there all the time. I was able to be present more than if working a full-time job.

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