The next, last, five years…

Stefanie Rock
4 min readNov 28, 2022


Death has a way of putting life in perspective, or maybe moreso awaking awareness. The person we want to be. The place we are in life. Sometimes the vast difference between the two.

It also leads to promises… commitments to ourselves to be better-
to do better.

To set aside the bullshit-
To make the plans-
To say the I love yous-
To release life’s toxicity and embrace the possibilities-

Invariably, somewhere along the way, like a bad diet, we creep back into familiar habits… comfortable spaces.

Not necessarily forgetting the promises, but letting others take precedence.

And we think it’s ok, it’s just for now.

We’ll get back to planning those vacations, making that call, prioritizing time… until we find that time has passed once again.

But what if we knew our time was limited.

Not in the we all know we’re going die someday reality, but in the theory that this month,
this year,
this decade is all I have left.

What would you change?
What would you want to accomplish?

For me, one year feels pressure-laden to see it all, do it all NOW and likely overlook life’s actual demands.

Yet ten years doesn’t create urgency: seems easy to slip back into “let plan to…” “one of these days I’ll…”.

But what about five years?

What if these next five years were your last five years
to plan,
to invite,
to visit,
to love,
to share,
to invest,
to prepare.

What would you do differently?

What would you tie up with a pretty bow to present as a summary that this is how I lived my life… this is what I gave… this is who I became with this one wild and precious life.

What would you do- what could you do- with 1837 days?

Cherish and feel grateful for every moment is bullshit.

Some moments, some days, some months truly fucking suck.
Life is hard.
And sometimes it’s just plain shitty.

But, I’m learning to be ok with those moments-

to stop glossing over pain, grief, shame, and instead allow myself to invite… sit… feel… and re-introduce myself to those emotions.

As someone who is challenged to remember if a conversation took place this week or last month- if it was something I heard, I dreamt, or something I read-

bite-size, short term goals are imperative.

And, I know where I want to be emotionally, physically, and financially requires being done with bullshit superficial.

So don’t be surprised, when you tell me you’d rather walk away than have a difficult talk, that I let you go.

I’m done finding old shit under rugs.
Change requires tough conversations.

Because- just like emotional discomfort in dark spaces- that’s where compassion lives….

in the deep.

But, compassion isn’t enough.
Yes, it’s the desire to help others- help ourselves… but it’s generosity that propels action.

And though we generally think about being gracious with our time, talent, or money for others- we rarely apply that same generosity to ourselves.

For me, the question perpetually prevails… did I do enough? Could I have done more?

I’m trying to rewrite that script.
I’m trying to give myself permission to do something even though I can’t do everything.

On the days I find my foundation cracking and slip into emotional overwhelm… I’m trying to compassionately accept that even though my spinning plates might not allow for an hour workout-

gifting myself a 10 minute disconnected sanity walk is ok.

And though I struggle giving myself permission to be at ease in a home still full of boxes, I’m acknowledging that my body graciously accepts time on my mat…

where nothing is expected of me, other than the awareness that I showed up for myself.

Maybe in five years I still won’t be emotionally, physically, or financially where I want to be.

But I can initiate a change in pattern,

My next five years aren’t filled with endless goals and bucket lists,
but rather opportunities that, if it were my last five years, risked the deep dive.

Changing the context when finding myself in the dark with a pressing sense of guilt that…
I shouldn’t be here,
I don’t deserve to be here.
I have a roof over my head. I have food on my table.

And then remembering that in the darkness is where compassion lives.

In these next five years, I know where I’m going-
though I also know better than to carve a map.

I’m not skimming the surface, nor am I preparing for battle.

I have no doubt the path will be full of detours and possibly some dreams replaced by even larger ones along the way.

I’m not waiting for an invitation for life- too much shit gets lost in the mail. And, since “the top of one mountain is the bottom of the next,” I’m just going to go ahead and start climbing again.

You know where to find me.
What are you going to do with your 1837 days?



Stefanie Rock

Sports nutritionist, hockey mom, & book nerd trying to figure out this crazy thing called life.