Dreams change over time.
When I was in middle school, I got hooked on Natty Bumpo novels. I wanted to be a pioneer. I fell in love with Lewis Wetzel in the Zane Grey books that told about him. It wasn’t until I dug deeper that I wondered if maybe Wetzel didn’t have a few personality flaws that weren’t mentioned in Grey’s stories and that there might be a downside to being the first person to discover new territories.
In high school, I discovered Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, and The Feminine Mystique. I was determined to be a clever, independent woman who would make my way in the world. My goal? I wanted to teach elementary education for nine months each year, and I’d be so inspiring, so motivational, that every child in my classes would yearn to achieve. Unrealistic? You bet, but worthy nonetheless. I’d save money while I worked, devoting myself to others, and each summer, I’d take a trip to some new, exotic locale, giving back to myself. I was serious enough about these goals that I warned every man I dated that I would not budge from my plan to teach and travel until I reached the ripe age of thirty. And then, and only then, if I met a man who intrigued me, I might re-evaluate my thinking.
It sounded good on paper. I stubbornly stuck to the idea, even after I met John when I was a sophomore in college. But John’s a very persistent person, and I married him after I taught one year. My summer trip was our honeymoon all through New England, but I have no regrets. Forty years later, I still think I made the right choice.
The odd thing is, I never once thought about becoming a writer. I bumbled into it by accident, just like I stumbled upon marriage and kids. It wasn’t part of my plans. It had to niggle and nag to catch my attention. At first, it was a distraction from diapers. I love children, but when my husband signed me up for a class in continuing education called Writing For Fun and Profit, I was so happy to get out of the house to have some time for myself, I could hardly believe it. And I loved the class. I loved writing. Little did I know that it would become a lifelong passion.
I listen to some of my writer friends. They always knew they wanted to write. I thought of it as an outlet from more important matters–an escape, until I realized I was addicted. Looking back, it’s been interesting. I was the girl who always had a goal, who was disciplined and driven. And I met those goals, but then got distracted by tangents, things that led me to other things. The distractions have proven fulfilling. They’ve become goals in themselves. The journey has been rewarding, and there’s still more to come. I can’t wait to see where Life leads me next, even if it’s not part of my agenda.