Close this search box.



I was excited to turn 30 and rightly so. Those turned out to be some of the best years of my life. As I reflect it’s clear to me they were the teenage years I never had. As a teen mom and wife there were no keg parties, concerts and definitely none of those carefree hanging-out with my friends kinds of days or nights. My 30’s were so much fun, I never gave a thought to turning 40. I did have a few twinges as 50 approached. I promised myself it would be the decade of me making every effort to complete everything I ever dreamed of accomplishing.

In nine-months I’ll be 60. Those twinges I felt as the 50’s approached are now deafening drum beats.

Throughout the last three-decades I’ve watched my kids grow into impressive adults and the most amazing parents to the 13-grandchildren they’ve blessed me with. I survived not one, but two-abusive relationships, escaping the second with the clothes on my back. I got the job I always thought I wanted and the education I was told it was too late to earn. My life was forever changed when my precious younger brother was murdered in a random road-rage attack. My grandparents were still living at that time so losing David was my first experience with grief.

Never in my wildest thoughts did I imagine meeting my soulmate and actually marrying him in the beach wedding of my dreams. He was the catalyst to my first book being published and to the writing career I thought was simply fantasy. It’s so cliché, but how did I get here so fast? Trying to keep the voices in my head that keep telling me it’s all downhill from here to a low roar is exhausting.

Do you ever think of how many days you have left, I mean actually doing the math? I wish I hadn’t gone so far as the math. If I live another 30 years that equals 1,040 Saturdays. Chances are I have less than three decades, and as I’ve learned in the most heartbreaking of ways, it could only be days.

Moments of panic have me wanting to experience everything I haven’t and everything again that I loved the first time around. I want to do it all right this minute before I lose my mind or the use of my body or both.

Once sanity slowly seeps in I realize I need to slow down and actually feel joy as I experience all of those everything’s. Is that sanity or just another one of those mindless things we tell ourselves but never actually do?

I find myself daydreaming about that morning my infant daughter started crawling, and I cried because I wasn’t ready for her to grow up. That time my crawling son stood for the first time against an open door that closed with his tiny hand caught in the hinge. Coming home late at night after closing the restaurant and waking my youngest girl to breast feed her one more time because I felt so guilty leaving her. As she grew I could count on her sitting on the bottom step waiting for me at night, a habit that continued into her teen years.

It’s been 10 years since I stood in the sand and married my best friend at sunset. I close my eyes and my heart beats fast with excitement the way it did on that magical day.

As chaotic and painful as life can be in those times when we don’t think we can get through another minute, or to ever bury another loved one, too soon we stop and realize we’ve been blessed with a single moment in which everyone we love and care about is safe, healthy and happy. It’s those fleeting moments I intend to seek out and cherish for my next 30 years.

Share this Story

Doreen McGettigan, President of Intrepid Marketing Inc., consults and coaches about writing, publishing and marketing. She is an award-winning blogger, ghostwriter, speaker and a best-selling author of The Stranger in My Recliner and The Bristol boyz Stomp.

Doreen is on the board of Family Promise; a former board member of The Press Club of Pa.—affiliated with the National Press Club—and a volunteer for SCORE where she presents seminars on creative marketing to small business owners.

She’s a fierce advocate for the elderly and all victims of crime and a former board member of the Network of Victims Assistance (NOVA), Pennsylvania’s largest, comprehensive victim service organization. Doreen works to end the stigma surrounding mental illness, suicide and homelessness.

Doreen lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband John. They have five grown children, two more in heaven, and 13 grandchildren… their own little cult. Their lives are never boring.

10 thoughts on “THE SANDS OF TIME”

  1. Doreen, I’m reading your book, “The Bristol boyz Stomp.” It is riveting. Resented my schedule because I had to put it down the last two nights but am taking it with me on a trip. You have grit, girlfriend! You preserver no matter what. I know how difficult that is to do. We all need to read one another’s stories because they reinforce that we can walk through the unthinkable as well. xoxox, Brenda

  2. The strength just shines out of you, my friend! You are a light to others. And all downhill from here? To quote Ellen: Over the hill means the hard work is done and there’s a snack in my future! Continue to shine!

Comments are closed.


Sign up to our list and we’ll send you our sought-after guide “50 Ways To Change Your Life”
I'm happy you've joined us! If you like what you read, I'd love for you to stay and subscribe to our updates by email. We have a great community of like-minded women, and your presence can only make it stronger.