Thursday, July 9, 2009

Birth, death, and everything in-between

This is not my daughter, but it could be. She passed her driver's test today and she's one 'happy camper'.

Watching the joy cross her face when the examiner told her she'd passed reminded me of what a huge milestone this is in a young person's life. One step closer to true adulthood, which they think brings them so many freedoms.

Talking to her about the importance of this achievement reminded me of an assignment I did in university. We were given long scrolls of paper and asked to draw a line from one end to the other. At the far left point of the line we drew a mark and labelled it "birth". At the the other end of the line, we placed a mark and labelled it "death". The assignment was to draw peaks in the line for all the major events that had happened in our lives to date, and those we saw in the future. We were given about 45 minutes to complete this, so were expected to put in a lot of peaks!

We set to work. Some of us put in peaks for learning to crawl, learning to walk, entering kindergarten. A lot happened in the first 5 years. Then some of us skipped ahead to getting our driver's licenses, part-time jobs and highschool graduation. We all drew a peak for university entrance, but after that, our lives were up to our imaginations. Most of us put in peaks for starting our careers, getting married, having children, buying cars and homes. Some of us even thought to put in peaks for our children's achievements (crawling, walking, school) and this took us to about mid-span on our lines. A few of us noted retirement, and some might have imagined travel, but for the most part, our lines were rather 'peakless' after about the age of 40.

I did a lot of assignments in university, but this is one of the few I still remember. At the end of the allotted time, the professor asked us where most of our 'peaks' were clustered. He asked where the least were clustered. We discussed the reason for this. Of course, most of us could not even imagine reaching middle age, so we didn't concern ourselves too much with the flat lines after that point, but the image stuck with me. The professor pointed out that, typically, there are less 'peaks' after after middle age, other than giving up our driver's licences and, maybe, moving to carehomes. (And it could be argued that those are not 'peaks' but dips'.)

But now I'm there. Past the midlife point. I have reached those 'peakless' years that I once imagined. But does it have to be that way? I am healthy and fit. There are many things I can still learn and experience. I can imagine many more published books. Peak peak peak. I can imagine grandchildren. I can imagine new friends and relationships. I can imagine new activities. Adventures. Peak Peak.

We all have a choice. We can allow the second half of our life-lines to remain flat, or we can find ways to continue living, and maintain peaks. I've talked about taking up piano again, and I recently climbed back into a kayak. As I get better at the things I still do, I'll imagine them as peaks, (though they may, actually, look more like foothills.)

At our celebration lunch today, I thought of telling my daughter about this assignment, and how passing the driver's test may be one of those major peaks in her life. But I didn't. Instead, I outlined the rules about driving, about sharing my car, and the consequences for breaking the rules. In short, I lectured. Afterall, she's too young to care about life lines, and clusters of peaks. She's too busy living.

And that's what I intend to do too.


Image from: http://images46.fotki.com/v1482/photos/2/1489162/7369540/_lg_teen_with_car_keys_in_hand-vi.jpg

16 comments:

Leslie said...

Another moving and brilliant piece of writing.

kdenman said...

Shelley, this describes my feelings about the future so well. I've been blessed over the past few years with the realization of many dreams, but have begun to look ahead and wonder -
now what? It certainly can't be allowed to flat line from here! As always, you're an inspiration.

Kim

Leslie said...

It's time.

Anonymous said...

governmentregistry -
government registry -
healthy urban kitchen -
higher faster sports -
homebrew installer -
homemadeenergy -
home made energy -
i am big brother -
instant profit machine -
i want a teaching job -
joyful tomato -
lose man boobs -
lower body make over -
macro virus -
magic of making up -
make money taking surveys -
malware bot -
maternityacupressure -
maternity acupressure -
meet your sweet -
moles warts removal -
money siphon system -
muscle gaining secrets -
my airfare secrets -
my miracle loans -
my out of control teen -
natural cancer treatments -
ovarian cyst cures -
pc optimizer pro -
piano for all -
prevent sweating -
privacy control -
publicrecordspro -
public records pro -

Anonymous said...

pvp bible -
quick article pro -
quit smoking today -
reg defense -
reg genie -
registry easy -
registry genius -
registry smart -
registry winner -
registry winner download -
reg tool -
relationship headquarters -
reverse mobile -
richard mackenzie direct -
rocket japanese -
rotator cuff training -
satellite tv pc master -
secrets book -
spy no more -
spyware cease -
survey scout -
the bad breath report -
thedietsolutionprogram -
the diet solution program -
the guru assassin -
the power pause -
tmj help -
tonsil stones remedies -
turbulence training -
two minute profits -
vincedelmontefitness -
vince del monte fitness -
warp speed fat loss -
web traffic machines -

Anonymous said...

wedding speech 4u -
wind plans -
xp repair pro -
your fun business -
zygor guides -
500 love making tips -
acid alkaline diet -
acne no more -
advanced defrag -
anti spyware bot -
art of approaching -
banish tinnitus -
beat eczema -
blood pressure normalized -
burnthefat -
burn the fat -
conversationalhypnosis -
conversational hypnosis -
cpa arbitrage -
creative date ideas -
debt free in three -
digital background -
dirty talking guide -
discus fish secrets -
duplicate file cleaner -
dw insider -
earth4energy -
earth 4 energy -
easy tv soft -
easy web video -
eatstopeat -
eat stop eat -
end your tinnitus -
error doctor -

Anonymous said...

evidence smart -
fap winner -
fat burning furnace -
fat loss 4 idiots -
final sync -
final uninstaller -
firewall gold -
fitness model program -
fit over 40 -
fit yummy yummy -
flatten your abs -
forex auto pilot -
gain opinion -
gold secrets -
government records -
governmentregistry -
government registry -
green diy energy -
healthy urban kitchen -
highest pay surveys -
holo think -
homemadeenergy -
home made energy -
i want a teaching job -
joyful tomato -
keyword elite -
learn photoshop videos -
lmt forex formula -
lower body make over -
macro virus -
malware bot -
maternityacupressure -
maternity acupressure -
meet your sweet -

Anonymous said...

microcap millionaires -
moles warts removal -
money siphon system -
muscle gaining secrets -
my list strategy -
my phone riches -
natural cancer treatments -
online tv pc -
panic away -
pdf creator -
peel away ads -
pips leader -
ppc web spy -
prevent sweating -
privacy control -
publicrecordspro -
public records pro -
questions for couples -
quick article pro -
quick paid surveys -
quit smoking today -
reg defense -
registry winner -
reg tool -
reverse mobile -
richard mackenzie direct -
rocket german -
rotator cuff training -
rss feeds submit -
satellite pc box -
save the marriage -
spy no more -
spyware stop -
super seduction power -

Anonymous said...

surefire trading challenge -
tattoo me now -
the bad breath report -
thedietsolutionprogram -
the diet solution program -
the dog food conspiracy -
the mini site formula -
tmj help -
tonsil stones remedies -
truth about abs -
twitter trick -
vincedelmontefitness -
vince del monte fitness -
warp speed fat loss -
wedding speech 4u -
win clear -
xbox 360 red light fix -
xp repair pro -
500 love making tips -
acid alkaline diet -
advanced defrag -
alpha male system -
amazing cover letters -
anti spyware -
anti spyware bot -
article rewriter -
art of approaching -
auto cash system -
burnthefat -
burn the fat -
bv cures -
calling men -
camera dollars -
carb rotation diet -

Anonymous said...

cash making power sites -
cb mall -
combat the fat -
conversationalhypnosis -
conversational hypnosis -
credit secrets bible -
destroy hemorrhoids -
dirty talking guide -
dotcom income secrets -
duplicate file cleaner -
dvd copy pro -
earth4energy -
earth 4 energy -
easy launcher -
easy system cleaner -
eatstopeat -
eat stop eat -
eczema free forever -
end your tinnitus -
error nuker -
fatburningfurnace -
fat burning furnace -
fat loss 4 idiots -
final sync -
firewall gold -
fitness model program -
fit over 40 -
fit yummy yummy -
flattenyourabs -
flatten your abs -
forex candlesticks made easy -
forex killer -
forex megadroid -
get rid of your cellulite -

Anonymous said...

g money pro -
google shadow -
governmentregistry -
government registry -
gov resources -
health biz in a box -
homemadeenergy -
home made energy -
hybrid water power -
i software tv -
joyful tomato -
keyword spy pro -
kingdom of pets -
macro virus -
malware bot -
maternityacupressure -
maternity acupressure -
meet your sweet -
microcap millionaires -
moles warts removal -
mole wart removal -
muscle gaining secrets -
natural cure for yeast infection -
paid surveys etc -
panic away -
pdf creator -
public records pro -
quick article pro -
quick income blueprint -
quit smoking today -
ranking loophole -
reg clean -
reg defense -

Anonymous said...

win clear -
xbox 360 red light fix -
xp repair pro -
1st promotion -
3 redlight fix -
500 love making tips -
acid alkaline diet -
advanced defrag -
anti spyware -
anti spyware bot -
art of approaching -
banish rosacea -
blog lock down -
brad yates -
building a chicken coop -
burnthefat -
burn the fat -
carb rotation diet -
combat the fat -
conversationalhypnosis -
conversational hypnosis -
copy n profit -
credit secrets bible -
cure angular cheilitis -
cure morning sickness -
dirty talking guide -
domain tweak system -
dotcom income secrets -
duplicate file cleaner -
earth4energy -
earth 4 energy -
easy launcher -
easy system cleaner -
eatstopeat -

Anonymous said...

eat stop eat -
eczema free forever -
email finder -
energy 2 green -
error nuker -
evidence smart -
fat burning furnace -
fat loss 4 idiots -
final sync -
fitness model program -
fit yummy yummy -
flattenyourabs -
forex enterprise -
governmentregistry -
government registry -
home job stop -
homemadeenergy -
home made energy -
how do i get him back -
hyper vre -
keyword spy pro -
kingdom of pets -
mafia war secrets -
malware bot -
master cleanse secrets -
maternityacupressure -
maternity acupressure -
maximum paid surveys -
meet your sweet -
mobile tv pro -
musclegainingsecrets -
muscle gaining secrets -
my dish biz -
one minute cure -

Anonymous said...

paid surveys online -
panic away -
pc tv 4 me -
pdf creator -
perfect optimizer -
pick the gender of your baby -
plr wholesaler -
private niche empire -
project quick cash -
public records pro -
pull your ex back -
quick article pro -
quit smoking today -
reality creation secrets -
reg clean -
regi cleanse -
registry easy -
registry fix -
registry winner -
reg sweep -
reg tool -
reverse mobile -
reverse phone detective -
richard mackenzie direct -
rich garbage man -
rocket chinese -
rocket french -
seize cars -
shop until you drop -
six figure yearly 2009 -
sleep tracks -
spyware nuker -
spyware stop -

Anonymous said...

sunshine 4u -
the bad breath report -
the cash1234 system -
thedietsolutionprogram -
the diet solution program -
the free car -
the lazy marketer -
tonsil stones remedies -
truth about abs -
truth about diets -
turbulence training -
vincedelmontefitness -
vince del monte fitness -
violin master pro -
warp speed fat loss -
wedding speech 4u -
xp repair pro -
yeast infection no more -
2ip hosting -
10 minute forex wealth builder -
30 minute back links -
500 love making tips -
acid alkaline diet -
advanced defrag -
affiliate jackpot -
anti spyware -
art of approaching -
battery reconditioning -
blogging to the bank -
burnthefat -
burn the fat -
carb rotation diet -
carp evolution -

Anonymous said...

cb bonus domination -
combat the fat -
content website builder -
conversationalhypnosis -
conversational hypnosis -
cure angular cheilitis -
cure morning sickness -
dirty talking guide -
driver robot -
earth4energy -
earth 4 energy -
easy launcher -
easy system cleaner -
eatstopeat -
eat stop eat -
error smart -
evidence eraser -
evidence smart -
fatburningfurnace -
fat loss 4 idiots -
fitness model program -
fit yummy yummy -
flattenyourabs -
flatten your abs -
forex trading machine -
forex trading made ez -
get your exgirlfriend back -
google snatch -
governmentregistry -
government registry -
grow taller 4 idiots -
guy gets girl -
hcg recipes -
homemadeenergy -