“May you live in interesting times…” Although it is supposed to be a Chinese curse, I look at it more as a blessing. Yes, I've lived an interesting life, and I wouldn't change one thing. Okay, maybe a couple of things, but nothing major.
Born to a military family, the life of a traveler gave me the opportunity to learn early on how fascinating cultures other than my own can be. I've tried to embrace the gifts that come from these experiences and, now, with my writing, I want to share some of them with others.
I've always wanted to be a writer. More specifically, my dream was to be a National Geographic photojournalist. After majoring in journalism for two years, life intervened and I chose another path. Actually, ‘chose’ implies that it was a conscious effort—it wasn't. I blundered into another career path—nursing—and I have never regretted it.
I practiced nursing for over thirty years focusing on critically ill cardiac patients. After getting my master's degree, I was privileged to participate with other great clinicians in the early years of artificial hearts and transplantation. It was one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. I met, and sadly, sometimes lost, some of the bravest and most noble human beings. Being someone's nurse is one of the most intimate relationships one can have and I'm a better person because of it.
After retiring, my husband and I embarked on the pursuit of a lifelong dream. In 2006, after relentless lobbying by friends and family, we sold our house, moved onto our 40-foot sailboat, Lyric, and sailed across the Gulf of Mexico toward the greatest adventure of our lives. We lived on our boat in Guatemala for two years. During hurricane season, we explored Central America. The rest of the time, we sailed between tropical islands, eating lobster, snorkeling, and spending time with people who have become our friends for life.
While living along the Rio Dulce, I encountered some incredibly dedicated people who gave me the greatest gift: the opportunity to volunteer at a village medical clinic. Our patients were mainly Maya who taught me so much about their culture, ancient and modern. During that time, I experienced the purest form of service to others, but I received so much more than I gave. It was the perfect end to a long nursing career.
Now, I have another dream: one that has been waiting for a long time to come true. I'm not going to be a photojournalist, but I am going to write. What did I hope for when I dreamed of working for National Geographic? I wanted to travel, have adventures, and write. So often, we convince ourselves that dreams don't come true, but if you look more closely, they manifest in ways we don't anticipate.
I did travel. I did have an adventure. Now, I'm writing...
Traveling to the Mayan ruins throughout Central America and learning the true-life (non-hyped) history and folklore of this culture has instilled within me a passion that must be fulfilled. Their culture, ancient and modern, is experiencing a renaissance. They are reclaiming their land, their language, and their artifacts. I want to share their stories with the world.
I've learned that when you have a dream, go after it and never give up. Thankfully, my life has provided me with some great material. My new dream: to tell a great story and share it with others. You know that feeling, when you finish a really good book and for a split second, you want to start it all over again. That is my wish for you.
“May you live in interesting times…” Thank goodness, I have, and there's still more to come.