BECOMING BETTER

Jean Croker Petke


What’s your hurry?

What’s your hurry?

The main thing I remember about 911 is how I felt. I thought about the people who left home that morning, never to return. I hoped their morning family time was good, that they hadn’t experienced discord before they left for work. I thought about how unexpectedly lives get snuffed out and the resulting abandonment of hopes and desires and projects and dreams.

A sense of urgency began to seep into my soul and my mind. Until then I always assumed I had more time, lots of time. I’d never had an illness or some random close call that caused me to reconsider the finality of life. Over the years I’d created a life I loved, had a job that used my skills and gifts, and my children were doing well. I was comfortable. I was cruising.

Of course, I’ve always known that life is terminal — but not imminently. It’s generally a distant thought.

My perspective shifted on that fateful day. Not that I had to, or wanted to, live every day as though it was my last one. That would be crazy-making. But I began to ponder what I wanted my life to be about — beyond family and work. I wanted to be more than just a mother and an employee. In a way I was having my own private identity crisis.

I thought about people I like to spend time with. I realized I generally let them make the first move, to offer the first invite for coffee or dinner.

I decided to be intentional about spending time with people who are important to me. I began to make arrangements, guaranteeing we had time together. I didn’t want to leave the relationships to chance.

I thought about my writing and my long term dream to publish my memoir. While I wrote on a fairly regular basis, I had done nothing on that project — for years.

I began the work, even though I didn’t have much time to dedicate to the project. By the end of that year I planned to have something on paper: an outline, things to include, a sequence of events, images, something. Once I was over the resistance to starting, I knew I could continue the work.

I thought about what would be left of my life, if I suddenly disappeared, died, or checked out.

I decided to quit living with regrets, as much as possible, about projects not done, creativity not pursued, words not written, friends not seen. I stopped assuming I would have other opportunities. The “somedays” would not be left to another day. I decided to do what I could each day.

Yes, I’m driven — ever since 911 — to be with friends, to be creative, to share my music, to give voice to my ponderings.

I encourage you — to not let another day pass — without being engaged in what’s most important to you.

Until next Tuesday . . .