April Jeppson: It’s the time of year for serious reflection

Published 9:13 pm Thursday, December 13, 2018

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

April Jeppson


Ten days till Christmas Eve. I’ll say it, how in the world is it already almost Christmas? I feel like I just wrote an article about how the weather was still nice, and I needed to clean out my garage — now it’s freezing out, and I still need to clean out my garage. The time is passing so quickly I can’t keep up.

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My husband turned 40 this week — 40. I use to joke about how he’s turning into an old man. I don’t enjoy teasing him about it as much as I use to. Probably because there’s some truth to it. Not that he’s an old man, but we are getting older. Days are passing quickly and they turn into months and years, and now I’m married to a 40-year-old man — which means I’m not that far behind.

This is the time of year when we look back on the last 12 months. Remember the moments that made us smile and ponder the things we’d do differently if we had the chance. Perhaps it’s my husband’s birthday, but I find that I’m not just thinking about the last year, but the last 20 years. Am I where I wanted to be? Did I turn out OK?

When I was a child, what did I want to be when I grew up? A country singer, a teacher, an artist. As I reflect, I’m pleased with the fact that I did become a teacher. I taught cosmetology before we moved here, I coach gymnastics and I have the opportunity each week to teach the youth in my church. So I feel like 7-year-old April would be happy with how my life has turned out. I might not be the kind of teacher I thought I was going to be, but I get to teach, and boy do I love it.

I’m going to go on a limb and say that I’ll never be a Grammy-winning country singer or a world-renowned artist, and I’m OK with that. I told my friend the other day that I’ve come to the realization that I’ll probably never be famous. She giggled and said, I love that you are just now realizing that you’ll never be famous. To which I responded, “I said I’ll probably never be famous — but there’s still a chance.” I mean I can’t completely give up on my childhood dreams.

Did I have a vision for my life at 40? Were there things I wanted to get done, or things I hoped would have been done by now? I’ve traveled a bit, but not nearly as much as my 18-year-old self would approve of. I still need to see Greece, Hawaii, go on a safari — heck, I still need to go to Portland! I have a few years left till my big birthday, so I think it’s a great opportunity for me to fine-tune my goals and figure out where I really want to direct my life and where I should put my energy. I mean, do I even really want to go to Portland?

I know last year at this time I said things to myself like “I need to get my shopping done earlier next year” or “Next year I’m not going to eat all this food so that in January I don’t have 10 pounds to lose.” I like to think that overall I’m in a better place than I was last year — that at some level I’m improving, even if it’s just that I’m only going to gain 5 pounds this winter.

I’m making a list and checking it twice. I’m digging deep and dreaming big. Life is surprisingly short, and if you’re not paying attention it can slip right by. How do I want to spend my next 20 years? Where do I want to go? What do I want to accomplish?

I need to be intentional with my choices — intentional with how I spend my time and my money. I don’t want to wake up 365 days from now and wonder how I got here. And I really don’t want to wake up next year and realize that I still need to clean out my garage.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams.