Good Tidings

This is a writing challenge as posted by worldwidesoulmate. The challenge is to meet my ten-years-younger self for coffee and find the most challenging, rewarding and fun things for me to do, or have done. Here goes.

I’m sitting at Brewster’s Internet Cafe in Sebring. I’ve ordered a mocha cappaccino and a carrot muffin. My ten-years-younger self breezes in through the doorway, quickly scans the tables and finds me. She drops her denim slouch on the floor next to her chair, flips her long brown hair behind her, scoots her chair close to the table, and takes a piece of my muffin. “Not bad,” she says.

I notice that my current self is about twenty pounds heavier than my younger self. I decide to let her eat the muffin. I look at her and wonder: What is the most challenging thing I’ve done in ten years? Well, let’s see. After getting fired from my job and collecting unemployment for nine months, I won the appeal when the state tried to stop my benefits and make me pay them back. That was a challenge for me. I’m mousy on the outside, raving on the inside.

Oh. Wait. I started taking free online writing courses. I’m challenging myself to write more. And I started this blog since then.

Rewarding. What is the most rewarding thing I’ve done? Well, for about the last ten years I’ve been teaching children’s church and Sunday school. That’s rewarding. I was also able to do a little volunteer work, and I got to help a friend who was going through a rough time.

Fun things. I’ve been able to reconnect with some old classmates from elementary and junior high on Facebook. Remembering with laughter the day I wore two different shoes to school. My dad had left for work so there was no car at home. I was riding the bus to school so there was no time to go home and change. I didn’t even realize I was wearing a black French heel and a brown loafer. A boy hollered out behind me, “Hey, Aleta, you trying to start a new style?” I was used to being picked on so I just ignored him. But when I got to the bus stop and one of my friends asked me why I was wearing two different shoes I was mortified. That was just one embarrasing day. There were others which were devastating at the time, but are funny looking back. A sense of humor is absolutely essential in this life.

I looked up from my reminiscences and found myself alone, my muffin barely touched. I finished my coffee and breezed back out the door, my relaxed fit denim jeans, jacket and slouch comfortable to me. I may be twenty pounds heavier but I have a great life, a husband who cherishes me, and a lifestyle that many would envy, even though all we own in the world fits into our Airstream travel trailer, our Dodge Ram dually, and the government declares us homeless.

OMG Moments

To me, OMG stands for Oh, My Goodness!.  My husband and I became full-time RV’ers seventeen years ago. We had a tw0-weekend yard sale, packed up the stuff we wanted to keep for later years to give to the kids in boxes, and took it to a relative’s house. We are at that house now, opening boxes that have been in a storage shed, going through things, and throwing much of it away.

But then there are those treasures. You know, the photographs you never wrote on the back of, but they bring back fond memories. There is a box with the set of dishes my my parents got for me to take to business school (44 years ago). There are handmade curtains I can no longer use, afghans I had made, gifts that had been given to us, keepsakes from long ago travels.

Memory Lane is such a sweet place. I love my life now but reading back over signatures from my JUNIOR HIGH autograph pages, and my senior memories book and yearbook bring tears of joy as I look back in time. Not all of my school days were happy ones; in fact many were not, but they helped mold and make me who and what I am today. I am grateful and wistful. Some things are wonderful, sweet memories, and others are reminders that I’m glad to be the age I am now.

If you are one of those many people who have been bullied in school, take heart. It’s tough; it’s cruel; but it is training ground for who you want to be. It isn’t easy to ignore the hurts and frustrations, but please, for your own sake, do try. Ignore the taunting. Ten years from now they won’t remember why they picked on you. The bullies will have moved away, or you will, and life will go on, and you will have grown more confident and bolder from the experience. You will learn where your strengths are and they will guide you to fulfillment. My favorite phrase in the Bible is “it came to pass,” because that means it didn’t come to stay. Life is a journey with valleys and mountains, sunshine and rain. We need them all. Keep pressing forward. Never give up your dreams. You’ll be glad you did some day. I know from experience.


Lights of Christmas at night

Lights of Christmas at night