22. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years?

Day 22: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years?

This is a really difficult question for me right now… I see myself approaching a major fork in the road.. I don’t know where it will take me or what I will decide because there are too many unknowns right now..

I have been thinking more and more about going back to school to get my Master’s degree and then writing. I may have the opportunity to make this dream come true. If things don’t work out, I will simply keep on doing what I am doing….Nothing changes.

In 5 years…. I will be sending my last child off to college. I will have my Master’s degree and have finished my first book about growing up with an autistic sibling. I am almost done with my second book which I will write about my husband. It will be an American success story about a boy growing up in poverty, working hard, and succeeding in business. I also will complete my first Half Iron in this time frame. 

In 10 years….. I will be traveling the world with my husband taking pictures and writing about our adventures. I will be very active on my trips from all the endurance I gained from years of exercise. We will be free from anything that ties us down….Work…Debt….Pets…Our kids will be out of college and settling into their own lives. 

In 15 years…. My years of adventure and excitement are behind me now. I will be ready to settle down with a house full of cats. I will spend a lot of time in a rocking chair telling my grandchildren the story of my adventures. 

It is hard to guess what I will be doing next month, but I can see this being a plausible way of spending my next 15 years…

21. If I could have one superpower…

Day 21: If you could have one superpower, what would it be and what would you do with it first?

The superpower of my choice would be having the ability to control minds…Bah ha ha ha…spoken like a true introverted control freak that would love to be bossy and domineering but just nags a little instead…Hhmmm..

The first thing that I would do is force my son to wear his retainer…then after that little bit of power, I would force my kids to clean their rooms and keep them clean…after that power goes to my head, I will force them to get along and never fight…

The best thing is that I would force them to think that they thought of it themselves. It wouldn’t be like they are fighting my suggestions in their heads like they usually do…This could be sooooo perfect!

If I had mind control powers, I wouldn’t use it to force people to give me money, material goods, or even love…I wouldn’t use it to make people think I won a marathon or anything…although that would be kind of nice…I’d much rather earn it..

I would my power to create harmony, cleanliness, and order…

But if I had that kind of power, why stop there??!?

I could use it to promote world peace. Imagine living in a world where everyone got along… no more terrorism, violence, and hatred…instead there would be peace, love, and unity…

Somewhere in my head a Beatles song is playing…

Wow, okay, even I wasn’t expecting that…

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to solve the world’s biggest problems? To feel like you have the power to change the world globally…To feel like you have control over making the world a better place…

That would be great, but I would be willing to settle for just having my son wear his retainer every once in awhile…

20. Three significant childhood memories

Day 20: Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood

1. My first childhood memory that I can remember happened when I was about 4 years old. This was right around the time that my parents noticed that there was something wrong with Matt. Matt stopped talking. He threw wild temper tantrums during the day. He screamed from night terrors at night. Friends of my parents said that they needed to have stronger discipline. They were told it was their fault that something wasn’t right. What they needed to do was beat the autism out of Matt.

That is what happened that day. My dad was in the kitchen with Matt trying to beat the autism out of him. My mom held my younger brother Mark and I back in another room to keep us away. I was afraid but I looked anyway. What I remember most was the haunting screams of adult and child. Matt kicking and flailing with my dad standing over him. The constant ping, ping, ping and rattle of the cupboard doors being hit during the scuffle.

2. The 2nd most significant memory happened when I was 6. It was a warm day in May when my mom left me alone on the lake dock to watch my 3 younger brothers play in the water. I was not to get my clothes wet. I was supposed to call out if there was a problem. Matt was flapping his hands together near the shore, oblivious to everyone else. Mark and Luke kept wading into the water deeper and deeper.

Mark exclaimed excitedly in his shrill little boy voice that Luke was swimming. But Luke was not swimming, he was drowning. Little Luke that just turned 2 was drowning in the lake and there was nothing that I could do. I tried to scream, but I couldn’t hear my voice. I wanted to jump in but wasn’t supposed to get wet. I didn’t know what to do, so I didn’t do anything. I froze with one leg perched over the water. My mom came out to check on us and saved Luke. It took me a long time to forgive myself for doing nothing, but I was only 6.

3. The 3rd significant memory happened when I was around 12. It was the day the fish tank broke. Luke came running through the front door that we never use and the door handle went right through the fish tank. The tank cracked spilling water onto the floor that seeped down into the basement where my dad was working. This made my dad angry. I was afraid of touching the fish, but I had to try to save them. I reached into the broken tank to grab a fish. It was squirmy and slimy. I screamed and pulled out my arm cutting it on the jagged glass. As the blood ran down my arm, my dad grabbed me by the other arm, swore at me, opened the door, and pushed me out of the house.

19. If I could live anywhere…

Day 19. If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?

It is that time of year again…the time of year when the old year is coming to an end like the falling of the leaves….and a new year with new opportunities is almost upon us..

It is at this time of year that I reflect…. What do I truly want?

If I could pick any place in the world that I wanted to live, it would be Tahiti. I have images in my mind of forever lounging in the sunshine on a sandy beach.

But, would that be what I truly want??

I have never lived in a warm climate. We get a total of 2 months out of the year that lounging in the sunshine on the beach is really possible. If we are really lucky, we get 3 months of warmth and beach weather.

Would I miss the change of the seasons? Would I get bored spending every single sunny day on the beach? Would I take it for granted?

Summer is my favorite season.

Would I miss cuddling in a warm blanket on a cool fall evening? Would I miss breathing in the crisp cool refreshing autumn air? Would I miss the beauty of the leaves changing color?

Would I miss waking on Christmas morning to fresh fallen snow? Would I miss the excitement of the first big snowfall? Would I miss seeing icicles glisten like crystals on barren trees?  There is something special about the roaring wind that whistles through the cracks in our very foundation that ushers in the winter snow….The appreciation of warmth inside when the house cracks from temperatures of 30 below.

Spring is my least favorite season..Every time there is a glimmer of hope, it seems like we are dragged back into the dark, desolate winter again. But would I miss the expectation of the arrival of summer if it is always summer? Would I get sick of something that I love because I have too much of it? Would it still be as special??

Although I would like to say that I want to live in forever summer, I don’t think that I really want to live anywhere but here…

Would I be happy away from friends and family to live in sunshine and warmth? Maybe for a few months out of the year, but not forever…

Maybe, just maybe, in the darkest loneliest days of winter I will pack my bags and live for a short time in forever summer…That sounds perfect to me!

18. The most difficult thing to forgive

Day 18: What has been the most difficult thing you have had to forgive?

First of all, I don’t like this question. Thing? Really?? I have people to forgive, but not necessarily a ‘thing’. These questions are really starting to make me feel edgy. Some are just downright stupid. I mean, who really cares about my daily routine?? I will finish what I started, but I might change things a bit.

I am going to change this questions to…Who has been the most difficult person to forgive? 

The long hard thought out answer to that question is ME. Yes, me!

I have to forgive myself. For all the stupid things I have done. And even for the things that I didn’t do that I should’ve done. The hardest thing about making mistakes is the inability to go back in time and make the right decision. The regret over making the wrong choice or taking the wrong fork in the road. 

When I was younger, I used to worry and ruminate over mistakes. I used to berate myself for not living up to my expectations of perfection. I tried harder to make up for the times I didn’t try hard enough.

Now that I am older, I don’t think I am any easier on myself. But I realized as I aged that there was nothing I could do to change things that happened in the past. I had to move on or go absolutely crazy from it. I had to forgive myself…let it all go…learn from the experience…and move on…

Even though I strive for perfection, I cannot attain it….I realize that now…only God is perfect….so I can hand it all over to Him and He can figure the rest out… 

17. What I wish I was great at…

Day 17: What is the thing you most wish you were great at?

I wish I was a great painter, but instead I enjoy painting beautiful pictures with my camera.

I wish I was a great at drawing. If I could draw, I could use a pencil to create something magnificent. Instead, I loop and swirl my pencil to create insightful words.

I wish I was good at gardening. I could plant the soil, water it, pluck out the weeds, and watch it grow. Then I would harvest the fruits of my labor. Instead, I work at fostering the growth of my relationships with those around me in a similar way.

I wish I was a great dancer. I could be flexible and graceful. But then I probably wouldn’t be a runner, something I love but probably wouldn’t have tried if I could dance.

I wish I was great at remodeling old houses. I could take what is broken and fix it. Although, I am enough of a fixer upper to last myself a lifetime of improvements. 

These are just a few things I wish I was great at…But there isn’t enough time in the day to be good at everything…So I’ll be happy with the gifts I have been given.

16. Five great accomplishments

Day 16: What are your 5 greatest accomplishments?

  1. Running not only one, but two, marathons.
  2. Earning my Bachelor’s degree.
  3. Staying happily married for over 19 years.
  4. Working hard with my husband over the last 9 years building a start up company and growing it into a successful business.
  5. Doing the absolute best job that I can to raise 3 children to become healthy and productive members of society.

15. If I were an animal…

Day 15: If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

If I were an animal, I would be a cat.

I have often heard from non cat lovers that cats are unteachable, temperamental, independent, and disobedient. But those of you who are cat lovers know that is simply not true. If a cat has a good master, a cat can be just as loyal as a dog. My cat is more obedient than my kids. He always comes when I call him, not just when it is time to eat. He misses me when I am gone. A cat chooses his master carefully.

I like to think that I am like a cat in this way. I am very independent, but have a strong loyalty to the select people I choose to trust.

My friend Cindy taught her cat to use the toilet. Sometimes he leaves the seat up and doesn’t flush. No different from her kids, I guess..

If I was a cat, I would be a fierce hunter. My family would get excited and shriek when I bring mice inside the house for supper…I know I would get sick of only drinking water and dried up old cat food, so I’d catch my own.

I would perch in high places and observe others. I wouldn’t have to talk, I just get to watch.

Other people could pick up my crap for me.

I could take more time to laze in the sun.

I would keep my coat shiny and clean. Someone else could brush my hair and vacuum up my clumps of fur.

I would be satisfied to spend my day curled up in your lap. I would purr to let you know how much I care.

I won’t have to worry about presidential elections, raising teenagers, or work.

I think it is time to take a two hour nap…

Oh wait, I’m not really a cat..


14. Five strengths

Day 14: Describe 5 strengths you have.

1. I am extremely self-disciplined.

I used to get frustrated when others around me would exhibit a total lack of self-control by eating or drinking too much, spending money that they don’t have, or by saying things that they shouldn’t have said. I have little compassion for messes people get themselves into. I used to be judgmental, but found that these people are only hurting themselves.

Through this, I found that I have a rare gift. I have the ability to control myself and have strong self -discipline. That topped with an innate inability to relax, I have been able to push myself to do things I never could’ve imagined were possible. I’ve learned that I have inspired more people through my example instead of through my judgment of them. In essence, I think I have managed to turn a weakness into a strength.

2. I have a strong work ethic.

I will work hard until the job is done, without break if necessary. I am efficient with excellent time management skills. I can’t sit still and have learned to use this energy to be very industrious.  I will focus on the details of the task and break it down to manageable parts. I will give it everything and be very thorough. I won’t stop until the job is done up to my standards. I love the challenge.

3. I am very organized.

I live my life by rules, structure, and organization. I have the ability to analyze details, mull over things, and come up with some pretty good plans. I am great at problem solving scheduling conflicts. I have no time for spontaneity. My schedule is very routine and I like it that way. If something works, I stick with it. I am also very good at planning non-routine events, such as vacations. I am a walking calendar. If I plan something, I will take every detail into consideration and cater it specifically towards what others would enjoy. That makes me happy.

4. I am loyal.

If you are able to earn my trust, I will be your most loyal companion. If I tell you that I am going to do something, nothing will stop me from doing it. I would be willing to move mountains for you. I may not be your shoulder to cry on, but I will listen to you and keep your secrets. I will nudge you to get back on your feet again. I will protect you. I will fight for you. Even though you may not want this, I will try to fix your problems. I stay calm and collected in stressful situations. I am able to put my feelings on the shelf and make good decisions. I will tell you the blatant truth if you ask. Forget the small talk, let’s get into a deep conversation. I am eccentric. I love adventures. If you come up with an idea, I will be up for anything if my schedule allows. I have a great sense of humor and love to make people laugh.

5. I am independent.

I am not afraid to do things by myself. I would be willing to run a marathon with no one that I know beside me and no one to cheer me on. I don’t care what others think of me. I have no desire to be popular. I wear the kind of clothes that I like. I am not susceptible to peer pressure. I have no desire to be like everyone else. I refuse to be bossed around or controlled. Don’t tell me what to do. I will stand up for myself, those I love, and the principles that I think are right if I am forced to. I am not afraid to say ‘no’. I am not afraid of facing my fears. There is a lot of freedom in living this way.

13. Five weaknesses

Day 13: Describe 5 weaknesses that you have.

1. I worry too much.

I can’t seem to relax and let go. I am overly responsible. I take on the weight of the world. I try to fix things I have no control over. I over think and under feel. I think about everything, all of the time. I am not carefree.

2. I am stoic.

Sometimes I have no response to very good or very bad news. It makes people feel like I don’t care about them. It seems to take me a lot longer than other people to process my feelings. I am stoic, calm, and collected in all situations even when I shouldn’t be. When I am very upset, instead of letting everything out, I push others away and get locked inside of my head.

3. I am a black and white detailed thinker with high expectations of myself and others.

There is no middle ground with me. I give 100% or nothing at all. When others do not live up to my expectations, I have the tendency to want to cut them out of my life completely. I have a really hard time with the word ‘acquaintance’. Are you with me or not? I get bogged down with the details. I can’t seem to see the big picture. I get plagued with indecisiveness and trapped in my rigid structure. I am not spontaneous. I am a rule follower, but I make the rules.

4. I lack compassion.

I am not going to be the one that cries with you. I won’t hug you or get into your personal space. I am very critical of every sob story I hear, especially if it could be used to exploit others in any way. I will search the details for evidence that something is off. I am cynical and distrustful of the people around me. It takes a long time to earn my trust.

5. I find fault in others, but don’t want to see my own shortcomings.

I am very stubborn and resistant to change. I want to do things my way even if your way is better. If you accuse me of doing something wrong, I will deny it. Then I will take the long detailed list of your shortcomings and throw it in your face. Because, let’s face it, you’re wrong and I’m right! I am not confrontational, but won’t hesitate to stand up for what I believe is right. Sometimes I value my structure, rules, and being right over my relationships with others.