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When will life level off?

Life doesn't slow down; be sure to enjoy today
Lead Summary
Lori Sorenson, editor

As a kid, I often pondered who and what I might grow up to be — an artist, musician, athlete, teacher. (Don’t we all dream of being teachers?)
Why didn’t I just enjoy being a kid? I had a great childhood. Yet I distinctly recall a preoccupation about what comes next.
I still do. Maybe we all do.
It’s a universal curse that hinders life enjoyment. Or perhaps it’s a survival mechanism — like squirrels spending their sunny days gathering nuts for future cold days.
In high school I planned for college. In college I planned a career, and so on.
It’s not that we don’t enjoy these life phases, because I did. Maybe too much, which might be why I was chronically sleep deprived … with homework, part-time jobs and a (demanding) social schedule.
I told myself that once I get my degree, life will level off and I’ll catch up on sleep.
But there was an internship to complete, a wedding to plan, a job offer back home, a move to pack for, a house to buy, a mortgage to pay, a baby on the way ...
I told myself that when the kids were out of diapers and in school, when I caught up with debt, when I mastered newspaper deadlines … life would level off.
But the kids were in soccer, Little League, Taekwondo and piano lessons … and later in marching band, football, track and field, tennis, and so on.
At one point, between shuttling kids and covering work assignments, I remember thinking back to the diaper days when at least we could be home.
Yet, I wouldn’t have gone back. This was my life. At that stage, my life was on the bleachers with the other parents who also ate supper on the run and left a dirty kitchen behind at home.
I enjoyed all life stages, which means, of course, that I’ve been blessed. And I’m grateful.
Last weekend my youngest graduated from college. It happened on a Friday night after a busy workday, ahead of a busy weekend.
I watched him cross the stage in his cap and gown and tried not to be distracted by food plans for his party and the Saturday plans to work at the family farm.
It was a lovely weekend, but I resisted the “after we get through this, life will level off,” feeling.
Life really doesn’t level off. In fact, I have no idea what a “leveled life” even looks like.
I used to think it happened in retirement, but some retired people are busier than ever.
… and some lose their spouses before they can enjoy retirement together.
It’s true that the older we are, the faster time flies. But thankfully, the older we get, the wiser we are.
And we realize that the best stage of life is the one we’re in right now.

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