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Opinion: Go for a life well-lived


Many moments in life pass by with nothing of importance filling them. They are empty, vacant, because you’re sleeping or surfing the web or doing laundry. You need that boring time to help you realize when the important lessons in life come, the real moments.

Moments crystallize our values or priorities, redefine our lives or send us on different paths or adventures.

Some key moments in my life: Discovering a passion for journalism in my first reporting class at Wartburg College. Acknowledging I wanted to become a parent as I helped my sister’s family out when my oldest niece battled cancer as a 4-year-old (she won). Realizing I should marry my now-husband at a family friend’s backyard Fourth of July picnic. Parenthood, in general, as it challenges, humbles and softens me.

And now add this one as of Dec. 15, 2017: Life goes by fast, so make the most of your time. 

My kind mother-in-law died on that Friday evening of complications of cancer at age 67. She packed in many moments in her life as a stay-at-home mom of four who re-established home after home during nine moves in my father-in-law’s career. Hundreds of people attended her funeral and shared how Kathy Heseman offered them some kind act or how she was a caring mother, wife, sister and friend. “A life well-lived.” That phrase came up over and over on Facebook posts and the funeral home’s condolences site.

So a moment passed, as I sat writing her obituary and I came across that phrase “a life well-lived,” that clarified a need to focus and be more intentional on how my time and energy are spent. And I need to get over some fears or bad habits. (Really, how many episodes of “Arrow” do I need to binge-watch on Netflix?)

My contributions to Lift IOWA will document my efforts to step outside my comfort zone, from attempting to overcome my addiction to Scotcharoo bars, to swimming in the deep end, to serving as the home-room parent for my son’s class and shopping at the terrifying crafty store of Michael’s (I’m no Pinterest mom).

Writing about my personal life is hard. I’m a journalist, so I’m more comfortable writing and editing other people’s stories. I do love writing in general, and I’ve learned from dozens of women who’ve shared lessons or stories in Lift IOWA and the Business Record. I’m going to give it a try and share the results with you. I’ve thought about doing these things for too long; action is required.

To anyone who’s been kind enough to read this far: I’m going to encourage you to find moments in your life and to follow your passions. Go for a life well-lived. I am. 

Suzanne Behnke is the editor of the Business Record and lives in the Greater Des Moines area. She loves spending time with her husband and 7-year-old son, being in newsrooms, working out, reading and drinking coffee. Behnke can be reached at suzannebehnke@bpcdm.com.

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