Inspiration in Chicago

I recently visited Chicago, what an amazing city. Even though the city did inspire me and I was impressed with it's magnificence; what truly inspired me was meeting up with a friend from my childhood. Teresa and I have known each other since kindergarten; it's been over 30 years since we've seen each other.

I don't feel at liberty to write about Teresa's life, that's her story to tell, suffice it to say Teresa has beat the odds and has done amazing things in her life. Listening to her and being with her was such a joy. She is happy and confident and gives you the impression that all things are possible.
Teresa has this great job taking her all over the world. She loves what she does and I get the impression she is very good at what she does. I thought, wow she's arrived; then she tells me she has a five year plan, this five year plan takes her to an entirely new adventure. She's not stopping, she's going to continue to move forward and accomplish new things. This was my moment of inspiration; I am going to make a five year plan too. Why should I settle for something I'm only somewhat satisfied with when there are so many opportunities in front of me. Not that I'm unhappy with my own accomplishments; I have no regrets. I've done a lot of things, and I'm very proud of myself. However, I have found myself thinking, "what if I had..." or "if I could do it over again, I would...".

Having children who are at the time in their lives where they are entering and leaving college; full of energy and the desire to conquer the world, causes me to look back at the path I took and the decisions I made. Reconnecting with Teresa has changed my perspective and has me looking forward to what opportunities are ahead. I have accomplished a lot, but I'm not finished; there is much more to do and conquer. So I'm going to take the thought of "if I had it to do all over again, I would..." and turn it into a five year plan.

One of the advantages of being 50 is that I have a much better sense of what I like to do and what I am truly intrigued by than I did at 20 something. I am at the beginning stages of creating my five year plan; I have yet to fill in the benchmarks. What I have is this; I am fascinated by people, why they are who they are, why they think what they think. I like learning about societies both ancient and current. What happens in a society to create religion, economy and family? Why is it that indigenous cultures all over the world have so many similarities in language and spiritual practice when they had no way of communicating or interacting? Why do some people believe so adamantly in God while others find the notion of a God ridiculous? There are so many thought provoking questions about humankind. Why do people have prejudices? Why do people love, why do they hate? I want to research and study all these questions. I'm going to look into becoming an Anthropologist. I don't know exactly what an Anthropologist does, but I'm going to find out. I may even decide to become a world renowned anthropologist. :o)

Thanks Teresa, for simply being you, and showing up in my life just in time to turn me around and change my point of view.


  1. I need to meet a Teresa, I think. Sounds like she's inspired you; I certainly need some inspiration in my life right now. Excellent essay, Jill. You've given me things to think about today.

  2. Thanks, Jill. I think you wrote this just in time to turn my thoughts around.

  3. Jill, thanks for sharing this visit and inspiration of your visit with Teresa. One of the reasons so many businesses are willing to hire recent graduates is because they have lived the past four to eight years of their lives planning each step of their progress. Setting and achieving goals is the key to successful business growth. When we are young we look forward to graduating college, getting married, starting a family, buying a house etc. Many of these goals are achieved within the first 5 years after college. Sometimes we take time to enjoy our accomplishments and forget to set new goals and get back on the path to progress. Too often our goals are short sighted or self-serving benchmarks that really don't gain any progress for our lives.

    I agree that at 50 I can look back and identify a pattern of success in my life. Each time I had a low point in my life I had accepted the status I had achieved as being good enough. I failed to continue to set goals and plan for the next step. One of these times, after being laid off from a job I thought was a great career, I realized I had settled for what I had and even closed a couple of open doors that would have propelled my career to a new direction and greater possibilities. I look back at these opportunities and remember that i didn't want to accept any more risk, I was happy to have the sure thing that was already happening for me.

    While life is once again looking promising I still remember that all good things will end and there will be changes whether we want them or not. I am working on my future plans, that is preparing for the next stage of my life. I plan to be working the rest of my life doing something I enjoy doing. Will it take 5 years? Possibly longer but for the next 5 years I have a number of milestones already set. I review my progress regularly and make the necessary adjustments to keep on track.

    One last thing, a goal that is an end in itself needs to be redefined as a milestone towards an even greater goal.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. It is good to verbalize our ideas so we can hear how crazy we will sound when talking about them to others.

  4. mom- YOU inspire me. truly.