I have always been one of those folks who sit down and think, “Where do I want to be in ten years?” It helps me set priorities, to get those bullet lists started, to re-vision myself after making a change in my life.
The first time I did this, I was about ten. I knew that in ten years I would be a grown-up. This was when I began to imagine what I “wanted to be.” Little did I know I would become multiple things — and that not many of them would be on that first list.
Astronaut. Yup. I wanted to boldly go to outer space and explore the heck out of it. (That was about the time we landed men on the moon, so perhaps understandable. Star Trek didn’t hurt, although I found Captain Kirk really irritating.)
Doctor. Okay, so once I got older, this morphed to Nurse (Less school, less time at work. I’m all about the life/work balance. This one I achieved. I worked cardiology and pediatrics for awhile before becoming a full-time mother and school volunteer.
Olympic Rider: Hardly likely to happen, considering I was only able to have one year of riding lessons as a child. No money for things like that.
Writer. Flash those neon signs!! I made this one come true. Didn’t start seriously writing until I was 30. (Before that I only wrote chillingly bad murder scenes where people who needed to die, died badly. It was only therapy. I swear.) At the age of 40, my first book came out. It was followed by two more in the series, then came a lull.
A fourteen year lull.
Last year, 2017, BURNED, a middle grade equestrian novel, came out. Kids who read it have e-mailed me photos of themselves burning through the pages. Gotta say that meeting my goal of becoming a writer has given me more pleasure and more heartache that being a nurse, and being an astronaut cannot beat the look on a child’s face when they connect with your characters.
That lull? I spent that time learning. Writing this. Writing that. Trying all kinds of different forms. Writing with different groups of people, all the while soaking up as much as I could from what they knew. When my children were little, partly as a way to stay involved with them as they spread their wings, I began working with kids and horses as a Horse Management Judge at Pony Club Rallies and sewing costumes for the local high school theatre productions.
Those two volunteer jobs were not so much a surprise, as I sewed many of my own clothes in high school, and while I sure missed getting close to riding at the Olympic level, I did manage to get a job mucking stalls in the stable in Cherokee Park in high school; riding wasn’t part of that deal. Just being around the horses was enough for me though.
My children are adults now, and no longer need me on a day-to-day basis. This is liberating in the most lovely way. I miss cuddling with my two cute little bunnies, but am more than happy about the independent, capable adults they have come to be. Plus (Shhhhh! don’t tell the kids!) it’s way fun to be an adult who gets to set their own schedule and do what we’re most interested in.
And surprise! What I am interested in looks a lot like it did when I was ten: Horses, science and space, writing. I have picked up a few interests since childhood: gardening and attending live theater, but really, I still find that my, “What do I want to be doing in ten years?” goals are a lot the same.
Ten Years from now I hope to:
- Have ridden a rocket to catch the stars. Hurry up Space X! Space travel needs to become safe and affordable right now!
- Enjoy the the joy and fierce compassionate power a child feels when they are able to get such magnificent creatures to partner with them.
- Continue to attend live theatre. It touches me in a way that TV and movies cannot do.
- Improve my writing every day. Because touching children’s hearts with my work is the best goal there is.