As I prepare for New Year’s Eve, I started thinking about where I was 10 years ago and how much things have changed (thankfully). It never ceases to amaze me how time flies but I’m sure everyone feels the same way. I won’t bore you with all the details of my life in the last 10 years, but here are some of the highlights:
At the end of 1999 I was the marketing manager for Ozarks Public Television. It was a job I had a love/hate relationship with. When the new year began, I was once again thinking of leaving but just couldn’t make up my mind, as usual. I had an office, a title, a nice salary, a little clout and a lot of security but I wasn’t happy and hadn’t been for a long time. Steve had been encouraging me to quit, but I had it in my head that I needed a job and a title to be a success. One day in March, as I was preparing to go to a meeting, a voice told me to quit. Just like that. I was sitting at my computer and it came to me that I just needed to quit so I wrote up my resignation letter and did it. My boss tried to talk me out of it, but I wasn’t going to budge on my decision. After I left, I ended up doing freelance for the station for about six months until I cut the apron strings, so to speak, for good. I didn’t even volunteer for a couple of years. Make no mistake, it was tough. After about a week or two, the vacation mentality wore off and I found myself feeling inadequate and lost. I looked for another job, but didn’t find anything interesting. Quitting that job was one of the toughest decisions I ever made.
Quitting public television did lead to the next phase in my life which was becoming a metalsmith. After a few years and a venture into beaded jewelry design, I took my first class in metals at Missouri State. The first few weeks were quite an adventure and I really felt out of my element. First, I was the oldest person in the class. Second, I hadn’t taken all the art prerequisites and wasn’t good at sketching. Third, I missed the first day of class and instantly felt like I was behind. Soon, I got my bearings and started enjoying the work. I learned a whole new language, sacrificed my manicure and fell in love with it. I also became good friends with the instructor, a woman who scared the hell out of me for about six months! One class lead to another which lead to another and here I am. I can now refer to myself as a jewelry artist and that sure beats an office and a title.
Ten years ago I weighed 40 pounds more than I do today. I know I’ve talked about my weight loss in the past and it’s not like I’m bragging (because I still have a lot of room to improve) but losing weight was a huge success for me. It meant that I took control of a situation and experienced a feeling of accomplishment I wasn’t sure I’d ever have. What’s interesting is that losing weight didn’t make me instantly happy. Have you ever felt like if you lost that last 10 pounds (or whatever your goal is) your life would be perfect? It’s amazing how untrue it is. It took me many more years to make peace with body and myself. I now realize that 10 pounds will make a difference in how my clothes fit and how I feel but it doesn’t mean I will suddenly look like a supermodel. I will always have body issues but I can make less of them by doing the best I can every day.
In 2000 I turned 34 and was a mess, emotionally. I had this notion that by the age of 35 I had to make my final decision on whether or not to have children. I knew, deep down inside, that I didn’t want them but I was afraid of waking up ten years later and regretting that decision. I can tell you that neither Steve nor I have regretted it. We love our nieces and enjoy being around our friends’ children, but are quite happy with the personal decision we made not to have children of our own. Our long-range plan is to endear ourselves to our friends kids so they can take care of us when we’re old. I’m talking to you, Guccione’s!
I’m sure the next 10 years will fly by as quickly as these past 10 have and I hope I have as much fun living them as I have the past ten years. I’ll end with this final thought. Marriage may be rosy and romantic in the beginning, but it just gets better with time. Steve, I love you more today than I ever have. I look forward to our future adventures together, good and bad, fun or not. Happy New Year everyone! Be safe, be happy and be healthy.