Thursday, June 11, 2009


I’m 38 years old right now.

It’s a good age, I think, old enough to not make the same old mistakes (mostly), and young enough to still have many good years left (to make new mistakes). I have many plans for the future, including going back to school, traveling the world, and holding grandbabies someday.

When I was a young 20, my wonderful brother-in-law was 38. I expect he felt the same way about his life as I do now. However, at 38, he had a major challenge put in front of him-- he was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

The last time I saw Don was when the nurse shaved all the hair off his head, in preparation for the surgery to remove the invasive tumor. He never made it off the operating table alive. I would never again see his easy grin, his even easier laugh, and experience his gentle demeanor.


So young.

I received word yesterday that a good friend I worked with for many years had passed away.

She was 38.

After over 10 years of sobriety, she succumbed to her alcohol addiction. Her body could no longer handle the ravages of alcoholism.

The last time I saw Jenny was while she was still sober. She had just finished with her Bachelor’s degree, had lost a significant amount of weight, and was ready to take on the world. I will never receive another hug from her, have her make me laugh until my sides hurt, or see her beautiful smile again.


So young.

Today, I contemplate my 38 years. What have I done with them? What do I want to do with the years I (hopefully) have ahead of me?

Life is short.

Make a difference.
Stop to appreciate the little things.

May we all lead long and interesting lives, full of happiness and good things.


skyesofblue said...

Being 57 now, here is what I would do different if I was 38 and knew what I know now:
Wear sunscreen all the time
Take better care of my skin
Appreciate the body I have and
always keep those ten pounds off
Exercise and eat right
Live one day at a time
Don't sweat the small stuff
Love & appreciate your family like
it's your last year to live

One thing I have always done is go way overboard each Christmas. My husband gets mad at me but I always celebrate Christmas like it's my last one.

Maternal Mirth said...

Awesome post ... total bonus: it gives me permission to play dollhouse with Peanut and read good books rather than clean out Big D's & my office.

Kristina P. said...

I often think about my life and am I happy? Will I look back and be happy with the things I am doing and not have any regrets?

Bex said...

very encouraging and inspiring post.

being only 31, my wisdom so far is thus:

1. i am not superwoman, so i don't beat myself up for being mortal.

2. confidence is a choice. it will not come when my arms are perfectly toned or my house is perfectly cleaned or my education completed (on paper).

Grant said...

38 was good for me. It wasn't until a couple of weeks after I turned 39 that I fell ill and my life was forever changed. Behold your future. Enjoy the rest of this year.

Ms. Salti said...

Thank you for sharing such a personal post with us. I'm sorry to hear about your friend. And thanks for reminding us to live each day to the fullest!

Sprite's Keeper said...

Wow, you've given me chills. So much reflection. I'm sorry for your loss and for losing too many people at what should be a wonderful age.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. Life is about letting go, and enjoy what we have. Not physical things or money, but the love of all around us.

Lisa said...

thanks for being so open!

kyooty said...

I'm sorry for your losses, but so impressed by your "gains". You are one smart 38yrold, there are so many who aren't even there yet, no matter how old they get.

steenky bee said...

Loved this. It's amazing what we consider "old" when we are in our younger years.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for your loss... but look at the bright side: At least they have helped you, and us through your blog, to value our time here, whether long or short!

Casey said...

What a sad but great post. I'm sorry to hear about your friend and your brother-in-law. It's sad that we have to experience things like this but I'm glad you have perspective. As I approach 38 (6 years to go), it seems more and more young.

Lola said...

Sorry for your loss. When I was 36 I lost my childhood best friend to a brain tumor.

Suldog said...

Happy Birthday to you!

All we can do with our years, however many are allotted to us, is live them to the fullest and try to make those included in our lives a bit happier. All we can ask in return from those people is the same from them.

You already have that knowledge deep in your soul, as is witnessed by this post. Good for you, and good for those in your life!

God bless.

Kerrie said...

Thank you for sharing. Reflective post. I'll drive home from thinking about it and will probably still be digesting such over the weekend. I am with Steenky Bee with the thought of when we are young it is amazing what we view as old. My dad always said "youth is wasted on the young"...I never knew what he meant - i thought it was just my dad being, well, my dad. As the years have gone by (37 here!), I get it. Life is short.

Anonymous said...

So sad. No mother should outlive her child.

As for you...just cherish every moment.
Happy birthday.

Anonymous said...

Hey! I'm 38, too. But I'm so much younger than my mom was when she was 38; I can't figure that out, but it's true. (Maybe it's because by then she'd already finished having her 9 kids and I "only" have 5 so far.)

I don't have too much trouble about turning 40 in two years, but when I recently realized I'll also be 50 in 12 years, that freaked. me. out. Even my mom admits that 50 is just old. I mean, I remember when my grandparents were 50.

It was fun to meet you today.

Mrsbear said...

What a shame. I'm so sorry to hear about both those losses. I like to complain about 34 being old, but it's more jest than anything else. 38 is far to young to lose your life. Thanks for the reminder.

Hit 40 said...

Life is so short!! Just blink and it's over :-(

Your poor brother in law. He was just trying to do the right thing to extend his life. Just BS!!!

Otter Thomas said...

Great Post! We all need to remember how fortunate we are to be blessed with each day we have.

Kaylen said...

Very touching!
I hope your 38th year is a much better one than the people you write about. It is so hard to hear about tragic things happening to someone so young...

Small Town Mommy said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Thirty-eight is definitely way too early for a life to end. I hope you have a long and happy life ahead of you.

Rob Clack said...

When you're a teenager, you feel older than you really are. Some time in your twenties, your physical age overtakes the age you feel. Now I'm 60 and I still feel about 30.

I like your Life is short list. I'd only add "Don't take things too seriously."

Live long; be happy.