When a beloved family member dies, one often opens up the old family albums.
That is certainly what I did after my Mom died recently. I poured over the
pictures of those who have shaped and colored my entire life. My Aunt Susan
is the only elder left and she is now very frail and has spent the last couple of
years in and out of the hospital. I speak to her quite often and she keeps
reminding me to savor every moment of my life because it all goes by too
fast. Every time we chat she always asks me "are you having any fun?"
When I was young I thought about having fun all of the time. Everything was so new
and every trip no matter where it led was an adventure. I was very good at
creating fun things to do. I was an only child born to older parents who indulged
my creativity. I don't think I ever said "I am bored" or "What can we do?"
That's me on the right next to my friend Barbie. Those were carefree happy
days. My biggest problem in life back then was coming home when my
Mom called me. I was just having so many adventures with my friends
and I was always late because I didn't want to leave them.
My dreams for my future included the possibility of being the next Annie
Oakley, following a rabbit down a hole like Alice or being whisked up in
a tornado with my little dog Bonnie just as Dorothy had done. I never
dreamed about marrying a prince charming. I was always dreaming of
doing interesting things in far off magical lands.
Of course I did all of the typical things that young girls do. I went to elementary,
high school and then college. My roommate and I joined a sorority. I survived the
scrutiny and the hazing because I wanted to wear one of the cool jackets with our
sorority letters and go to all the parties. All of that was fun, but the little girl who
wanted to live an adventurous life and travel to exotic places stayed alive in my heart.
In my twenties I had a big adventure. I moved to a middle eastern
country and I became a First Primary School Teacher to forty-five
little six and seven years old at the local Sacred Heart School. It
was so much fun and the holidays gave me the chance to travel and
see much of our big wide world. Notice the great tan. It was so hot
in Bahrain that the school hours were from 7:30 am until 12:30.
I used to run home after school, have lunch and prepare the next
day's lesson before heading to the beach. Life was grand.
Next came more schooling. Meeting my future husband and getting
married. The responsibilities started piling up. Career, mortgage, car
payments and caring for elderly parents. My adventurous and fun days
were tempered by life. A whirlwind of duties that kept me busy from
early morning until late at night. It happens to all of us and we hardly
notice the time slipping away. With that passage of time our dreams
are put aside too.
Just as quickly, life changed for me once again. We are
living in Texas now. My care giving duties are over. My
husband told me I only need to work if I want to. It's a new
era of my life. A chance to add new photos to our family
album. It's time for me to have new adventures and the
possibilities are endless. I am looking forward to the
ride, but even though I now live in Texas, I am not so
sure that I want to be Annie Oakley anymore ;-)
Perhaps you are at a new stage in your life and are
uncertain of your future path. My suggestion to you is to
embrace new opportunities. Dig deep into your heart and
renew old interests or attempt the ones you were afraid to
try. With age comes wisdom and a depth of strength just
waiting for you to embrace. Toss away fear and doubt
and always remember, I will be right here to cheer you on!
Wishing Y'All Big Dreams and Happy Trails,
Susan and Bentley
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