So this is 50…they say as you get older that life gets easier and you stop caring about the little things so much. I beg to differ. The little things are everything as long as you are with the people you love.
I look at my life as a series of chapters. Each decade a new chapter with new challenges, obstacles and celebrations. I think it’s important to reflect on the past, yet not stay there, especially in the darker moments that tend to hang on like an annoying hang nail. Here are a few of my highest of highs, and lowest of lows during my half century long life.
My first chapter of life I have wonderful memories of going to the Lake with my family, the Minnesota State fair, and summers spent with my cousins, Aunts and Uncles. Riding my bike, fishing and going shooting with my Dad, and going to Wisconsin with my Mom and sister are some of my favorite times. My Dad used to let me tag along on his deck building projects which I always loved.
My second chapter wasn’t as joyful. The teen years weren’t kind to me and the loss of my Uncle was one of the hardest things I went through during this time. I suffered from depression and was stuck in a funk for the earlier part of this chapter. But as I grew up, and decided that joining the Air Force was my destiny, and life turned itself around on a dime. I had a vision and I was determined. Unfortunately this chapter ended on a dark side, which those of you that know me well know it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever endured. I’ll leave it at that for now.
My third chapter of life was a whirlwind of moving around the country and doing all things 20 year old’s do. I grew from what I learned in my second chapter, and while the brief marraige didn’t end well, I was blessed with the birth of my first born daughter, Jordyn. This child saved me from everything dark and scary, and gave me a newfound appreciation for life and a confidence in myself that I never knew was possible. It was us against the world, and getting stationed in Alaska was the biggest blessing we could have ever been given.
My fourth chapter just might be my favorite, and I rang it in with my Mom which is one of my favorite memories with her. We celebrated at a beer festival and finished it off with talking all night and eating shrimp cocktail. I went on early in this decade to meet my wonderful husband, Brian. Shortly after meeting, he deployed to Afghanistan and I waited a year for his return. We are the testament of true love. Soon there after our wedding, I became pregnant with our second born daughter, Sophia and then were reassigned to Texas. After having Sophia who mind you brings me more joy than I can even describe,I was diagnosed with severe postpartum depression which took it’s tole on not only me, but all of my relationships. I guess the empty feeling I had just couldn’t be replaced right away. My husband surprised me with my four legged BFF, Sammy, and things started to turn around. I started long distance running which was my new therapy Unfortunately I lost my Grandpa which was very difficult for me. He was a war hero just like my father and I always loved his stories. He was so proud of me for joining the Air Force. The end of this chapter was also the end of my 20 years of service in the Air Force which was bitter sweet. My career didn’t end how I had hoped, but that will never take away from my pride in serving my country. We packed up the family and moved to IL. It was so nice to be close to family and we thought we found our forever home…I went on to finish my MBA in Healthcare Management, and ran my first full marathon.
That brings me to my current chapter…ah my 40’s were a whirlwind as well – ups, downs and all arounds. I lost my last Grandma which was very hard but we were at least closer to family. I struggled with the 4-0, to the point where my husband had to tell me to get over myself LOL. I continued long distance running which helped me mentally transition to the civilian world. I left everything out on the trails. We loved our time in IL, and spent countless days in the city of Chicago, exploring, enjoying yummy food and Broadway shows. We spent holidays with family and truly celebrated life with our kids making memories, so that hopefully one day they can look back on their earlier years with nostalgia. We took several vacations to Florida, and realized that we really wanted to be closer to the beach/warmer weather. After a few brutal Chicago winters and my husband’s second deployment to Iraq, we decided to start looking for jobs in sunny Florida. I landed a job at the VA in Tampa, and as they say the rest is history.
Now, here we are just north of Tampa. We love all things Florida, to include: beaches, beach towns, Disney and being outside with family and friends. Its definitely something we are proud of doing because we took a leap of faith and it paid off.
Now, as I enter into this next chapter, we’re starting to look at long term plans, preparing for being empty nesters (😢), and planning for what it will take to retire in 15ish years. I may have not always made the right choices, but honestly wouldn’t change a thing. All of the little things we’ve done have added up to some pretty amazing memories with our family. 💖
Cheers to another 50 years!!