I learned a new word today ikigai, a Japanese word which means that which makes life worth living. The presenter at the retirement conference spoke about it and I realize that my mind instantly wandered as soon as the word showed up on a slide. I zoned out and started to doodle ‘what is the meaning of MY life’. I drew hearts, arrows, and circles around the words. I drew clouds and a girl-like stick figure with big hair and cowboy boots. I had a smile on my face. I decided to scribble a cute pair of Jackie O sunglasses by the time I finished zoning out. I realize that I am truly starting to make sense of what goes on around me, defining my life journey and most importantly breathing what I want to do with my tomorrows ahead. I am in my fourth decade plus seven years. I have a myriad of memories (a lot of cool ones including game shows and having lunch at the White House), experiences, and stuff that have defined the who I am thus far. I am pretty content with the list but I am now re-creating my spirit within and looking forward to my new found hopes and dreams. I have experienced death of loved ones which, to me, is one of the most intense, ill-inducing, and life-defining moments of the mountains we climb. Next to losing my father, the scene of giving birth to my daughter and seeing her little body literally crawl out of mine, MY flesh and blood, was pretty life-defining. Pretty incredible. Whoa moment for sure. In parenting classes I teach, I usually start off with “the journey from the womb to the tomb is ours, and only ours, to define.” I remind myself, even when my own daily living adventures get sidetracked and chaotic, that I do need to smell the flowers, give some away, keep some for myself, and just stare out into what makes life worth living.