Expires August 2063

Embracing the Expiration Date of Your Dreams

Your heart has a limited number of beats in it; and within each beat exists an opportunity to serve a purpose, whether to rejuvenate the body as you sleep or to propel thought when working. Since June 2014 when I joined the breast cancer club, I have lived each day knowing I don’t know when my expiration date will occur. It’s something most of us avoid thinking about, but in truth mortality is one of the most basic threads of humanity. We have been given the opportunity to feel gratitude in each moment in life if we consider that it could be our last.

What would you do if you had an expiration date of three years. How would you rearrange your day and prioritize the people and goals in your life? Now… I don’t want any of you to worry. I’m in perfectly fine health and I have a plan to live to 103—partly through living each day to the fullest and pilates 😉 I chose three years because it is long enough to want to achieve Big Bold Audacious Dreams and short enough to see the end-date clearly.

When I consider this scenario the first thoughts that come to mind for me are:

1. I have 1,095 days to accomplish my biggest boldest dreams.
2. I don’t want to waste one day.
3. I am no longer concerned with what people think of me.

As Steve Jobs says at the end of the commencement speech he gave at Stanford in 2005, “Your time is limited so don’t waste it living someone’s else’s dogma. Don’t let the noise of other people’s opinions drown out your inner voice. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” Steve had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2003.

My follow through thought is: What challenges are going to keep me from living each day spectacularly? Challenges will come in a variety of ways that will deplete the necessary energy I need each day to take one step closer to my goals. Therefore, I need to pay attention to my mental, emotional and physical nutrition; which means paying attention to my diet, exercise, quiet time, prayer and sleep. When one of these goes awry the others seem to follow suit and I have to hit the refresh button and start all over tomorrow—wasting one of my precious 1,095 days. In life as it is in sport, if you want to perform at your best, you must prepare your mind, body and soul to execute. Now that we’re all ready to live life to the fullest…

Let’s do a little Share and Tell.

My biggest, boldest dreams (not in any particular order) that I can accomplish in 1,095 days are:

1. Finish writing and publish my book, “Choreograph Your Life”
2. Help guide UCLA Gymnastics to championships 7, 8 and 9
3. Get my Urban Nutcracker project produced
4. Spend quality time with family and friends
5. Take an exhaustive trip though all of Italy (I can’t believe I’ve never been)
6. Craft one (or a few) TED talks that are worth listening to
7. Produce my kickass theatre production that I can’t tell you about yet 😉

Knowing I’m one day closer to not having any more days isn’t morbid, it’s actually exhilarating and fuels me to “Make Each Day a Masterpiece” (thanks Coach Wooden). I am actually enjoying my life much more than I ever have prior to June 2014. When I consider how I want to live the next 1,095 days—let alone the next 16,790 days it’ll take to get me to 103—I’m beyond excited knowing that each morning I wake up with a heart beat I’m getting another day to to live my Big Bold Audacious Dreams.

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18 Comments on "Embracing the Expiration Date of Your Dreams"

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[…] When I got diagnosed with breast cancer, all of that changed. First of all (as I’ve written in a previous musing) we all have an expiration date, we just don’t know when it is. When I got hit with the knowledge […]

Claudia Hart

I don’t know about 1.095 days, but last season as my Mom and I were driving up to UCLA, we passed a church. The sign in front said, “If you knew Jesus were coming tomorrow, what would you do today?” My Mom said, ” I would go to a UCLA gymnastics meet,” and that’s what we did. Go Bruins!

You know what’s funny? Not too long ago my sister & I decided to make a bucket list. If I only had 3 years to live the most important thing would be spending quality time with the people I love. But here it is, my bucket list: Tour the Kremlin & royal palaces in Russia Go to Loch Ness, find the Loch Ness monster and have the species named after me Run a marathon in honor of my dad Do missionary work overseas Devote a whole day to doing random &/or anonymous acts of kindness Invent the worlds most amazing… Read more »

Kelli, I will help you find Nessie! 🙂


Let’s do it! You, me, and my cousin, Abby. We’ll rent a houseboat 😃

Elizabeth Rosendorf
My biggest, boldest dreams (not in any particular order) that I can accomplish in 1,095 days are (this is what I would do if I had just three years to live): Pack up my Shih Tzu and wife and travel. There are so many places I want to see in the U.S. and abroad. Visit my friends all over the U.S. and world. Spend lots and lots of time at beautiful beaches. Spend an extended period of time in Muenster, my second home in Germany, to be around all of my friends there. Take lots of dance technique classes. Do… Read more »
Thanks for another thought- provoking post. I have probably thought about this more than a lot of people my age. I had serious complications after a surgery when I was 10 and wasn’t sure I would live. I prayed that I would live until age 30 which seemed like an incredibly old age at the time because I already had my dream college picked out and wanted to become a doctor. Once I turned 30 and those dreams had already come true, I began to look at every year I lived after that as a “bonus” year, and I didn’t… Read more »
Newton Oluwaseun Abigail
Newton Oluwaseun Abigail

Thank you for another amazing musing miss Val. My biggest boldest dream that I think I can accomplish in 1095 days is starting my own foundation and counselling centre.
And it will make my heart very glad if your championship dream 7 can happen next week. If it were done by votes you and your girls will have mine. Good luck next week. Will try to follow while I can.
Love from Ukraine 🇺🇦

Amy Erickson

I could comment extensively on all of your amazing goals, but for time’s sake, I’ll say this–PLEASE make some TED talks. I’d LOVE to be able to show them to my students! 😉 Your love and wisdom and passion need to be shared even more than they already are. #yespleaseandthankyou