Thirteen years. There are so many different ways to think about this number. Some people think of it as unlucky. But me… I’ve decided to think about it as a sort of calendar of possible events. A Baker’s Dozen worth of opportunities to experience the world I now inhabit.
And if you’re wondering where I’m coming from on this topic, suffice to say that I read the other day that the average life span for Americans is just short of eighty. It’s actually a little under eighty for men and a little over eighty for women, but I figured, based on my current health and lifestyle, that I could realistically go with eighty when thinking about how much time I have before I die. I’m currently sixty-seven. That means, barring an accident, I’ve got a decent shot at a baker’s dozen worth of years left.
A few of the people I’ve mentioned this to think eighty is too conservative an estimate. I could easily live longer, they say, going on to mention people in their families who have lived into their nineties. But the fact is, if I make eighty it will be a somewhat remarkable achievement, because not one person in my family has lived that long.
All my grandparents (long deceased), my parents (both gone now), my older brother (dead at fifty-eight)… all died before reaching their eightieth birthday. So achieving that number will be a record for my immediate family. Of course, I do hope I break the record and then some, but I don’t see a good reason to not accept the fact that I am cut from the same cloth as the people who raised me.
So what does one do when faced with her or his final decade (and change)… or more specifically, what will I do? And the answer is… I don’t know.
I’ll continue to garden. I love gardening… growing vegetables and flowers and herbs… creating a safe home for my insect friends and producing food for our table. And I’ll no doubt write about something because that’s just second nature to me now. But platform building? Working to advance my career? None of that holds meaning for me within this context.
I’ve thought that maybe I would focus on one major project each year and fill in around those efforts with smaller endeavors, but I’m not sure I’m comfortable creating a framework that could become more burden than celebration. So I guess time will watch my baker’s dozen unfold. But regardless what I choose to do, at the end, I’d like to look back and feel content that I didn’t waste this opportunity I’ve had to become one with the river I swim in.
In the meantime, I’ve created this website… not as a platform, but more as a desk drawer… a place to jot down my thoughts, share conversations with interesting people, and comment on the observations I make along the way.