The other day a visitor stopped by my new apartment. Funny how someone else notices things we hadn’t even realized. This was one of those moments.
“Your home is filled with words.” He said. “Everywhere I look, there are words.”
My reply… “Well of course, I’m writer.”
I let myself ponder this simple conversation. As most of you know, I’ve recently taken on a few changes in my life. I choose to call it, creating the next chapter. It’s been amazing and wonderful and exciting and scary as hell. But I’m grateful for every moment of it. Even the scary ones. I’ve learned something about myself each day. This change in my world, has changed me.
I listened to everyone’s reactions as I began planning my changes. The 6000 mile trip by myself. That brought scads of naysayers.
“Are you crazy?”
“It isn’t safe for a woman to travel alone.”
“I’d never do that.”
“I’m worried about you.”
But there were some very positive reactions too.
“You are so brave.”
“I’m proud of you for going after your dreams.”
“I’m so excited for you, I wish I were going with you!
On my trip I learned to take each single day and go with whatever appeared in my life. Some days there were beautiful scenes appearing at the edge of the horizon. (Which was always conveniently located just over the hood of my car.) It often felt as if I were at an IMAX Theater watching a National Geographic Travel Adventure. Around each curve in the road before me lay a wonderful new scene to explore. Beautiful colors, wide expanses, tall buildings in great big cities, and small town Main Streets.
After I returned from the trip and had a few days in a row of not driving. My landscape began looking very different. I had to settle somewhere. Make a new home for myself. It was daunting to say the least. Again I got lots of comments.
“Where are you going to live?”
“You can’t move far from your kids.”
But again, there were some encouraging comments too.
” Your kids are grown and all doing just fine.”
“It’s your life, live it where you’re happy.”
“You can always change your mind.”
I found a lovely town just outside of Madison, Wisconsin. It has the big city feel I’ve missed since I left the Minneapolis area over 30 years ago. I located the perfect apartment. It has a veranda facing the river.. if I could throw better, I could feed the ducks without ever leaving my apartment. And best of all, there’s a wonderful writer’s group here. It’s been a month and I’m glad to say I’m very happy here. Best of all, I see my family and friends from Iowa almost as often as when I lived there.
As with anything there are ups and downs. I’ve had a few down days here. One of those dark days, I called my daughter to commiserate. She is so smart! She said,
“Success is all in how you define it Mom. Think about it. You’ve done so many things in your life. You wanted to be a mother. You have 4 children who are all healthy and contributing to society in positive ways.
I have to admit she got me thinking about all of the things I have done in my life. I wanted to be a nurse when I graduated from high school. It took me a few years to find my way to nursing school, but I did. And out of 63 students who began, I was one of 12 who graduated. That was back in the day when nurses wore caps and white uniforms.
I also wanted to be a social worker. And I managed to find my way to accomplish that. I felt honored to have that job. It gave me so many opportunities to change the world. I’d like to think that in some very small ways, I encouraged a few people to make changes in their lives.
I also wanted to be a foster parent. To be able to help some kids as they grew up. I was fortunate enough to have a husband who was willing to go forward with that and together, we fostered 25 children in less than five years.
So it seems my smart daughter just had to get me pointed in the right direction. Forward. Thank you Angie. She reminded me that even though my path hasn’t always been the direct route, I’ve always managed to reach the destination that I set out for.
Now… it seems that words have a large impact on my life. A few writing classes and the Santa Barbara Writers Conference of course. But as my friend pointed out, my apartment is filled with words. I’m working at putting those words in my mind down on a computer screen. Maybe one day, I’ll be one of the published writers in the Writer’s Group.
I call myself a writer now.