Looking Back To Move Forward

Pearls in the Oyster

According to You Ask Andy a grain of sand inside an oyster can take up to twenty years to become a pearl. The iridescent beauty of a natural pearl is created slowly over time as layers upon layers are added until the pearl is large enough to have value. Isn’t this just the perfect metaphor for life? In a culture that values youth, us old folks should cling to this truth: It takes many years of hard living to be able to truly shine.

When it comes to looking back and self examination, I tend to be a glass half empty kind of gal. I look back and see where I screwed up, or if I had just taken that path, stuck with the dream, hung on just a little longer, tried harder…well, you get the idea. Until now I have never really looked back and thought, it’s ok, that was just preparation for what’s to come. Maybe its age, or perhaps it is just my time; now is God’s perfect time to open my eyes as I am ready to see.

Here is a list of the moments in my life that define me:

  • What do you want to be when you grow up? Housewife & Mommy or maybe a teacher
  • What my high school counselor said: “You’re not college material” What I heard: “You’re stupid.”
  • Graduated from high school with absolutely no plan for my future.
  • Came to Houston in 1976 and through a conversation with my friend Kay and an advertisement in the newspaper, I decided to go home and become a medical assistant.
  • I went home, found a medical assisting school. My main goal was to learn how to take care of children so I could be the best mommy I could be.
  • Got married.
  • Loved what I did but wanted to be a “nurse.” I wanted the title. I felt like a fraud every time my employer said, “My nurse will be right in.”
  • I found a nursing school, applied and was accepted. I attended Hermann Hospital’s School Of Vocational Nursing and graduated with honors. I passed the state boards exam with a near perfect score.
  • Worked on the first pediatric kidney transplant unit in this hospital. Then felt like a failure when I couldn’t hack working nights and left the hospital and returned to pediatrician’s office where I had been an assistant.
  • Got a divorce.
  • Married a man and his daughter.
  • No biological children.
  • Next was school nursing where I had over 700 kids to take care of. After seven years I decided I really wanted to be a teacher.
  • Tried going to community college to begin the process of becoming a teacher. I couldn’t pass college level algebra (too stupid for college) and gave up the dream.
  • Stayed in the school but became a teaching assistant. Kindergarten rocks!
  • Found a passion for reading to children, helping children read and I discovered I love picture books.
  • Began staying home to parent a teenager.
  • Became a grandmother; teenager now 22 but single.
  • Took over daily caregiving to granddaughter from 9 months – 18 months.
  • Spent twelve years owning multiple yarn related businesses.
  • Realized I am not a true entrepreneur and embraced me.

As I read through this list and highlight key words, I realize that what I really dreamed of being when I was a child, is indeed what I became. It never looked like what I envisioned in my own finite mind, but I received everything I had dreamt of. I say received not achieved because most came packaged differently than expected.

So, my friends, my challenge to you is to look back at your life over the next few days and make your own list. Be kind to yourself as well as honest. See if you can find your own unique path through the experiences of your life. Is there something you’ve always dreamt of that you haven’t seen come true? Maybe, like me more of it has come true than you realize and wouldn’t that be a delightful surprise?

Focus on your journey in 2019 rather than the destination. If there is anything I have learned, and it might sound trite, but, the joy is truly in the journey.

Have a wonderful weekend. I’ll be back on Monday with ideas for how I plan to combine my love for words plus crafts, cooking, travels, Maggie the dog, and everything that makes me, me in my own little corner of the blogosphere in 2019.

Until then…always & forever,

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