I grew up in a small Midwestern town, a farming community to be exact. My days were filled with school, after-school activities and friends. Saturdays were spent hanging out with friends and Sundays were set aside for family. I was free to roam around our small community spending many hours with friends. We were rarely at a loss of what to do. Much time was spent perfect our bowling skills at the local bowling alley. We walked across town many times during the spring and summer for a drink or ice cream at the local ice cream shop. As I got older I earned my own money at various jobs and that was probably the time when my life began to change. I became more independent and the closer it got to high school graduation, the more my life went in a different direction.
My parents seemed to re-create the life they knew growing up, I did not. Maybe it was growing up in the same small town all those years, but I longed to move away and experience life in ways I only imagined. I didn’t want to be tied down in the same place for years on end. I wanted to experience as much as life had to offer.
I did move away from home after high school. I got married and moved two towns away. Not far at all, but away none-the-less. I experienced motherhood two times and with two babies in tow, I moved away again to a bigger town, in a bigger house and thought life would be grand.
A short time later, my life really changed. My husband left me and the boys for greener pastures and I was soon in the new category of single working mom. Before I knew it, I was back in that same small town I so wanted to escape just a few year earlier. With two small boys, (one with autism, although I wouldn’t have the official diagnosis until a few years later), I needed the help of my family nearby.
A few years later my life changed again as I moved to California, got engaged, got married and then moved once again to the State of Washington. Hubby was stationed in the Army at the time and we would spend the next 13 – 14 months there. Within a few short years, I had gone thru more adventure in my life than I ever dreamed. Not all of it good, but all of it an adventure none-the-less.
Later this year, hubby and I will celebrate 32 years of marriage. We started our life in Washington before moving back to Illinois. A few months later we were back in Washington where we stayed for a few years before heading back to Illinois. We stayed in in that same small town I grew up in for almost 20 years (something I never wanted to do) before we landed in Texas where we have been for the last 14 months. During all of this we raised three boys and are now raising two little girls. We will once again become foster parents, bringing more children in our lives. We have had the luxury of traveling to some fabulous parts of the world. We have laughed, loved, and lost.
For some, this would be more than enough adventure to last a lifetime, yet I still long for more. What does that say about me? Okay, maybe I don’t really want to know the answer to that, but I do feel strongly that life is to be lived. Not lived by simply waking up each morning, but lived through those experiences that cause me to think, to feel and to see all the wonderful things life has to offer.
Danny Kaye once said, “Life is a blank canvas, and you need to throw all the paint on it you can.”
That’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to throw all the paint I can find on my canvas with hope that the outcome will be one of the most wonderfully beautiful paintings ever created.
Here’s to an artful life.