In July 1999, we had a surprise 50th birthday party for my dad. I did not have a good time. My two sisters were coming from opposite coasts, and I had to keep them hidden, because not only did dad not know about the party, he didn’t know about the other daughters coming to town. The stress of the lying and manipulating the whole event left me with the biggest migraine I’ve ever had.
Saturday night, we had a surprise 60th birthday party for my dad. I had a better time than the 50th. My sister and brother were coming from opposite coasts, but this time I had help keeping them hidden. The stress of the lying and manipulating wasn’t as bad this time, either. I did not have a migraine by the time it was over.
But I spent most of the week thinking about the past decade. Since most people I know gauge success in terms of things they own, or benchmarks they’ve reached in life, I tend to get into a comparison nightmare. I don’t own a home, I’m not married, I don’t have kids. And it’s been 10 years since my dad turned 50, and I thought I was old and past marriageable age back then!
So I started making a list of all the things I have done in the past 10 years, and here it is:
Graduated from college
Moved to Utah
Taught high school
Advised an award-winning newspaper
Moved to Nebraska
Taught high school
Coached students who qualified for National speech tournaments
Coached students who won State Speech events
Went to grad school
Graduated from grad school
Have been published in a variety of forms (newspaper, online magazine, anthology, academic journal)
Traveled whenever I wanted to, where ever I had friends to see
Have amazing friends
Gained 8 more nieces and nephews
And those are just the “big” events. If I really sit down and think about it, the past 10 years have been pretty good. Which means the next 10 should be just as good, if not better.