My girlfriend said, “You have to write a story about your experience.”
We were in a deep conversation about a massive Hurricane headed towards Florida. Her children and baby granddaughter had just moved to Florida and the opinions of ‘what they should do’ were coming from all directions. Her “baby” and her baby granddaughter were in a new area, with little support, facing the unknown. Let’s be honest, it was a scary prospect.
Their ages and the tales of this new, unsettling experience brought back an old memory that I shared with my girlfriend. The memory I shared with her was a poignant reminder that we find our strength and feed our spirit when we face the unknown.
I moved to Columbus, Georgia, at the very young age of 21, with a new baby girl, six weeks old.
I moved to the military base, Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia, without my second Lieutenant husband, who had orders to precede me by two weeks. I knew no one. I had never been on a military base. I had never flown alone with an infant.
My mother said, “You can’t take care of your goldfish, how are you going to fly across America with a newborn to a military base in Georgia!”
How would you have reacted to my circumstances at the age of 21? Would you have made the move with feistiness, moxie, and bravery? Ask yourself ‘right now’ if you are stretching yourself at your present age, past 50? Would you move to a new community, start a new business, travel to Rwanda in Africa to visit the Silverbacks?
My Strength And Spirit
I told my friend, recounting the experience, “I never doubted myself. Sure I was afraid of the unknown. But, I had no fear of failure.”
And then I explained why…
Kankakee by the Sea was my most important teacher on the subject of survival. The town, thank God, taught me to adapt as a young girl to every situation that requires true grit, an ability to stretch myself without breaking, a positive attitude that I will succeed.
I faced situations that exceeded reasonableness for a young girl, but I left the town with a feeling of positive power and an earthiness in my soul, that small town girls have.
That small town way of thinking, to this day, keeps me grounded, kind, and open to meeting people from all walks of life. Thank you, Kankakee by the Sea.
This was who I was as the young woman who flew to an unknown military base in the South. I may not have had the prowess to know how to clean my fish bowl, but I knew how to survive, and thrive. I would participate and enjoy my new surroundings even with cockroaches; which I out lived. (I killed them with spray starch.)
How I Survive — and Thrive — Even Today
As we age we have a choice. We can stay in the race and continue to dream big dreams. I intend to do just that and make sure my ultimate concierge hangs with me.
I am still that young girl walking alone with my baby into those gates at Fort Benning looking only forward to the unknown. I know you can relate. How many of you feel that same way?
I realize everyone is not as fortunate to have my upbeat attitude of totally being excited about life. I know I am older but so what? My gray hair does not bother me not nor do my lines. I lead a relevant life with my ‘older husband,’ who grounds me and adores me and vice versa, as well as our children and grands.
Every day is in fact unknown. And that is where you bloom. Strength and spirit flourish amongst new experiences. Open up your arms, at every age, and welcome the adventure with a grin and a wink. I know I will.
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