March 14 2017 10:00 AM

We are more than numbers. Step back and measure life’s unmeasurable moments.

When I was a kid, I loved report cards. For me, it was important to measure how I was doing in my classes.

Now that I’m a dairy farmer, metrics are just as important. Like Temple Grandin told me last year, “It’s hard to measure improvement if we’re not measuring.”

At the same time, I believe we’re more than our numbers. So it’s important to stop every once in awhile and take a look at life’s unmeasurables.

I’m turning 36 on Thursday. Most people wouldn’t consider this a milestone birthday, in the way that turning 21 or 40 or 50 seem to be.

But for me, this birthday is huge. It means that I’ve now officially been an adult for half of my life.

It also means that there’s a good chance my life is half over. If I take the average length of my grandparents’ productive lives, then 36 is the halfway point. I sure as heck hope that I’m wrong, but we never know when our time here on this earth will end.

In anticipation of this birthday, I’ve spent the past couple months thinking long and hard about the unmeasurables in my life. Mostly, I’ve been thinking about my purpose here on this earth and whether or not I’m making the best use of the gifts I’ve been given.

Like I do whenever I’m pondering something, I looked for readings that could help me take a deeper dive into this idea of life purpose. In doing so, I found three messages that helped me clarify my thoughts.

  1. “We exist on this earth for some undetermined period of time. During that time we do things. Some of these things are important. Some of them are unimportant. And those important things give our lives meaning and happiness. The unimportant ones basically just kill time.” Mark Manson
  2. “Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive, then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Howard Thurmon
  3. “You are one decision away from a totally different life.” Mark Batterson

What I concluded at the end of my introspection is that I am exactly where I'm supposed to be.

And if the answer had been different, the choice to change is mine. Nothing in our lives is permanent except the dates etched on our gravestones.

You can be sure, too, that I'm going to make the most of the next 36 years.

The author is a dairy farmer and writer from central Minnesota. She farms with her husband, Glen, and their three children. Sadie grew up on a dairy farm in northern Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in agricultural communications and marketing. She also blogs at Dairy Good Life.