Monday, February 4, 2019

I never had a master plan

As I look back on my life so far (the first 70 years), I'm aware that what's led me to this point has been largely unplanned. Here's what I mean.

1. My father was a military officer, so we moved around a lot. I was pretty much an obedient daughter - expected in the military environment - interested by nature in academics, music and theatre. The closest I ever came to a life plan was "I'll go to college and then get married and have kids."

2. I was accepted as a high school junior to the College of William and Mary in Virginia, when my father was stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. I wanted to go there, but my father was then transferred to Camp Smith on Oahu. My parents thought 5,000 miles was too great a distance between my college and their home. My mother had been a Marine during World War II, stationed at Santa Barbara. She said it was a nice place. I applied to UCSB, and that is where I spent my four years of college.

  • Outcome of not going to William and Mary: didn't spend my college years on the east coast and marry an east coast person and have east coast kids; didn't go to a smaller school where I would probably have been more comfortable. 
  • Outcome of going to UCSB instead: spent my college years on the west coast and married a west coast person and had west coast kids; went to a large party school (I have never been a partier); experienced anti-war activity and got tear gassed through my apartment window; felt some guilt that I had anti-war preferences though my father was in Vietnam and paying for my college education.
3. I got married and had kids (two sons) . Part of the plan.

4. I got divorced after 15 years. NOT part of the plan.
  • Outcome of getting divorced: I went back to school to earn a degree that I could use to support myself and my children. I learned how to take care of myself and my household.
  • Outcome of the degree: I moved from a small town in Oregon to a large city in Washington for the job I got. I didn't keep that job, but I've lived in Washington ever since. And I have used some element of that degree every day for the last 30 years.
5. I was a single mom for nine years. Not part of the plan.

6. I got remarried and acquired six more kids. Part of the REVISED plan.
  • Outcome of getting remarried: I found a partner I never would have met in college. We have been together for 27 years.
  • Outcome of acquiring six more kids: Got to have as many kids - and more - as I'd hoped for. Got to experience the differences between boy kids and girl kids. Got to be a role model for young women.
7. I retired after working for 25 years. Part of the plan, though in my heart of hearts I couldn't imagine such a thing without more than a twinge of worry and fear. That's when I started my blog, "Thoughts from a Bag Lady In Waiting".

8. As a retiree, I could choose how I spent my time. Part of the plan, though I had no idea at first what I would do other than sleep as long as I wanted in the morning and read a lot of books.

9. I said yes to what came along, but only since I turned 60. Before that I was pretty much still the military officer's daughter. Here's what's come along since I started saying yes:
  • Took 140 hours of training in 18 months and became a certified mediator. 
  • Mediated about 100 conflicts at a dispute resolution center and in small claims court. Still have the skill, which I use nearly every day.
  • Took 69 trips of three days or more, within the US and elsewhere. Still have the memories, the blog posts and the photos.
  • Volunteered five times at a refugee camp in Greece. It has changed my life.
  • Bought a small home at a +55-plus community in Tucson for winters. Found a community in this "camp for grandmas". 
  • Started adding blue and purple and burgundy highlights to my hair. Still love it!

  • Got a tattoo of the world. My first and last. Still love it!
  • Volunteer each week at a refugee shelter in Tucson. I am continuing to say yes to this amazing work. Greece or Tucson? It's just about the same. And I know beyond a doubt that We Are All The Same.
But I feel especially blessed and lucky. No master plan. But it's all worked out to be more than I would ever have imagined.


Maebeme said...

You've had a very interesting and varied life. From my perspective, it would seem it has gotten even better as the years have passed. Love the hair!

dkzody said...

Saying yes to new experiences keeps one active and involved in life.

Linda Reeder said...

You make me think, "Did I have a master plan?" Well, sort of, like you, but it has turned out way better than I imagined. I think yours has too.

DJan said...

I sometimes wonder what my life would have been like if I had not been forced into marriage at a young age, as well as being a mother. But for all that, my life has turned out just fine, way better than I would have imagined fifty years ago! :-)

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Life takes us down roads that we never plan and with each turn, we hope to learn and grow. You path has taken you to very interesting places and you have done marvelous things. Well done, and I love you purple hair. That was an easy yes.

Paula Patton said...

Amazing and awesome life!!

Arkansas Patti said...

You have shown a great ability to be flexible and to adjust. That is a talent some just don't
have. Kudos on making all your Plan B's work so well.
Often wondered how your blog title came to be. Interesting.

#1Nana said...

...and because you said "yes" we became friends and I am grateful to know you and for our adventures.

Joared said...

Life is all about adaption and houvecsurelybdoneca lotbof that — an interesting life.