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The Only 2019 Goal I Need

Work with the elderly and you are bound to get a lot of life advice, asked for or not. Some relationship related, others about life in general. I chose this patient population because I enjoy talking with those who most people don’t make time for. The life stories from a different era are fascinating.

Over the years I’ve heard a lot of stories, some sad, most funny and I have received a lot of advice. There is one piece of advice that keeps coming up from both those who fell ill at a young age and those who remain vital even into their 9th decade on this planet.

That advice?

Do the things you want to in life while you are young and healthy enough to do them. Don’t wait or some day you’ll wake up and realize you can’t do it anymore.

I’d heard this advice a few times before it really sunk in. One of my favorite patients is a small, elderly Scotsman. Every visit he would tell me how he was working towards the one thing he wanted the most: to fly home to Scotland one last time. He was afraid too though due to an incident in the airport on a prior trip elsewhere. Everybody told him he was ready and able to travel. His family plotted a way to make the trip easier on him. He hemmed and hawed and put it off.

And then, just as he was ready to book his flight, he suffered a massive stroke and lost the use of the left side of his body.

His dream of flying to Scotland one last time was over. He waited too long.

I still see him every three months and I still look forward to talking with him, but his visits now have an aura of sadness about them. A finality.

Things happen and dreams falter and fizz out.

Don’t wait. Time won’t slow down. The world won’t pause for you. Someday you’ll wake up and realize you can’t do the one thing you really wanted to do.

For the last five years I have done one thing: work. Fifty hours a week, 52 weeks a year. I’ve taken one stay at home vacation. I’m on call 24 hours a day, 363 days a year taking only Wyatt’s birthday and Christmas Day off and even that makes me feel guilty. I work because the work needs done. I work because I’ve always worked. I got my first job at 16, worked through undergrad and even had a part time job in medical school.

But I’m learning the work can wait. The world will go on. Patients will still be there.

My one goal for 2019 is to live. Simply live. Do the things. Make the memories. Have the experiences.

To let myself live without guilt, judgement, fear.

To go to a show even if not fully prepared and enjoy the simple fact that I can go. What’s the worst that can happen? We knock every rail down or refuse three times and get eliminated? Big deal. Do the thing.

To stare at the sky, a mountain, the ocean, a forest more and the computer screen less.

To stop being mean to myself. I try so hard to always be a cheerleader for everyone. To boost others up. To push them towards their goals. Yet I then turn around and tell myself I’m not good enough, not smart enough, not skilled enough.

To embrace the life I have knowing full well what the end can look like and how quickly it comes up. How one moment can deprive you of everything.

So in 2019 I’m going to live more, work less. Go for it even if it may be ugly. Jump the jumps. Ride the trails. Take time off to be silly with Wyatt, to explore the world, to plant a garden.

Simply to live before I run out of time to do so.

37 thoughts on “The Only 2019 Goal I Need”

  1. Great post ❤ for the longest time I had a post card on my bathroom mirror that said “let’s make time for all the things we want to do,” and even tho it’s kinda corny it’s such a great and important reminder.

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  2. LOVE! This is how I try to live on a day to day basis. I would rather do 100 things and fail at all of them than not try a single one and still be “safe” inside my comfort zone. This method of thinking can, and will, change your life.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Really needed this post today. I’ve been waffling recently between focusing on advancing in my career or focusing on the horses. I’ve always been so work driven and busted my butt to get ahead in my career, but recently I’ve had a bit of a slower period and have really been able to take more time to be with the horses and I love it. A job of some sort will always be there, but my health and ability to ride and compete may not. Thanks for the reminder.

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  4. In the last few years, I’ve learned that you only have so much time on this earth… and you don’t know how much that is. Fill it with as much of the things that make you happy as you can ❤

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  5. This is a really great, wonderful goal. It’s so true tho. It takes a while to stop feeling guilty for “taking time off” but it’s also so freeing and rejuvenating once you realize that you no longer feel guilty for it ❤

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  6. Best.Goal.Ever.
    I have a similar career in that I’m constantly available to everyone else. But I finally realized, that’s my fault, and I’m not going to enjoy my work anymore if I don’t change things. So I did. And I love my job more now that I have some me time.

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  7. I feel like cancer has been everywhere lately, family, coworkers, certainly tons of patients I see. And suddenly it isn’t all “old people “. These are people who may never reach retirement. As soon as at least the first 2 kids can travel with only boosters I want to budget in worldly travels.. Because we never know what tomorrow brings and I want all the memories with my kids I can. Until then they can help me groom our stinky appy pony and learn work and fun can coexist.

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      1. Lol have a coworker who was just complaining about his wife in the same regards. I just hate pulling trigger on tickets etc so usually wait too long and pay more.

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      2. Travel alone. Go now. You meet tons of people and have great experiences when you are alone. It opens you to others. Most women dont want to travel alone and so are constantly waiting for permission from others. Dont wait.

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      3. I spent most of my 20s traveling alone both in the states and abroad. It was eye opening and life changing and I’ll be pushing Wyatt to do the same when he is out of high school. Now a days I’m wanting to spend that time with others and share the experiences

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  8. An elderly resident who teaches me crochet saw i was using the steps she gave me said she was glad to know she taught me something. When i see her she keeps showing another step in life. The steps in life keep moving. In varient of age limit.

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  9. This goal really speaks to me. I’ve been writing my year-end review for my blog and the thing that kind of sticks out is the things I didn’t really do that I wanted to do, but couldn’t because I was too nice or trying to put others ahead of my needs and dreams.

    I need to “just be” in 2019, to be able to pursue my goals and take a chance. Gut feeling is there’s a lot of changes coming up for me in the near future and just letting things happen is what I really need to focus on.

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  10. I really love this. I’ve been working on some similar things this year and it’s totally been a game changer, but it can still be challenging to celebrate that progress when it doesn’t look like the ‘normal’ achievement. Thanks for the reminder that others are trying to make these shifts too.

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