Life Resume

guest blogger

by Marilyn M. Lee

When I was 19 years old, I decided that I wanted to be that girl that when she dies, people would say at the funeral, “All this before she was 25!” and “All that before she was 30!” I never had any desire to travel. I never had any desire to do crazy things like sky diving or bungee jumping. Yet this one tiny goal I made demanded cool accomplishments, bragging rights if you will. This goal begged for a stellar life resume.

Never heard of a life resume before? Let me explain. A life resume is a list of all the things you have done in your life that you can present to Peter at those Pearly Gates and prove that you lived a pretty fantastic hundred years on earth. Hmmm…ok. Maybe not so much. In short, it is a list, physical or not, of the things you have accomplished in your life. It may be privately stored in a journal somewhere, or publicly announced over every social media outlet you can join. But everyone has one. Exciting or not, it’s there

Everyone’s life resume will be different. One thing you must remember when reviewing your life resume as you rock away slowly on your porch at year 80, never compare your resume to someone else’s. Never regret your resume. My goals are not yours. My bucket list items are completely opposite than yours. I was talking to someone the other day who wanted to visit all of the baseball parks in the U.S. before they passed on. Me? Not the hugest baseball fan, but I fully respect that goal. My bucket list included bungee jumping, which was checked off last year. While to me this is super exciting, suicidal would be another’s choice words for this activity.

So what do you want your life resume to read? No one will be interviewing you for a position in heaven based on your resume, but you most definitely have every right to brag about the things you’ve done with this life. At the end of your 101 years, will it read Mother of 5, Grandmother of 27? World’s best skydiver? World Traveler? Caretaker for the most needy of souls? What is life without goals, without a bucket list with check marks dotting the pages? We are only on this beautiful, majestic mound of dirt called Earth for a short of time. Don’t you want to make it awesome?

Sometimes, I get greedy. I wish for my life resume to be different and miles long. I see others with their lands and gold and travels under their belt, and I hungrily make a mental note of 50 more things I NEED to do to make my resume better. This is not realistic. Sometimes, I think that what others have that I lack, are examples of my failure. Then I step back and realize that, so far, my life resume is pretty good, definitely something to be proud of. I am now a year away from my first age goal, and I think I have done a pretty good job. I have many more things I need to achieve, many more goals I want to set, and miles to go before I am the world’s most exciting person. But, for now, my life resume is pretty decent. Is yours? If it makes you smile, then you can count that resume as award winning. Here’s to many more years on your life resume. When you die, have a life resume others can pull out and see just how amazing you were.

The Log Ride and Only Child Syndrome

guest blogger

By Marilyn Lee

My mother never liked heights…or any amusement park type rides for that matter. Because of this, I grew up thinking that I didn’t either. On ninth grade Lagoon day, I was dragged onto my first roller coaster and loved it. I believe this is where my adventurous spirit was born. Since I realized that thrill rides were a fantastic way to spend time, my mother, being the good sport she is, decided to take me to Lagoon the same summer I discovered my inner thrill seeker.

We got to Lagoon and went on a few not-tall, non-loopy rides for her enjoyment. However, my soul thirsted for more adventure. On our way to Rattlesnake Rapids, a pretty calm water ride, I saw an awesome ride opportunity. A ride called the Log Flume begged for my attention. I asked my mom if she wanted to go. She declined because it went too high up. No matter, I would just go by myself. I traipsed right over and got in line. I was unaware that it was two to a seat. I awkwardly stood there while the ride attendant asked the other line-waiters if anyone wanted to accompany me. A nice twenty-something man was kind enough to help a sista out. I awkwardly sat in front of him on the seat and enjoyed the exciting Log Flume Ride.

There’s lots of statistics and stereotypes about only children. Especially being an only child with a single parent. They aren’t always uplifting and often mention “only child syndrome”. This syndrome commonly refers to only children being bratty, selfish, and spoiled among many other glamorous personality traits. However, after years of being an only child, I have developed my own theory and definition of my personal only child syndrome. The story above is an example of my only child syndrome. I pinpoint this experience as my growing-up realization that as an only child, independence comes naturally and if I want something done, I don’t need to rely on anyone but myself to get it done. If I desire an outcome, an experience, or an emotion I am not going to wait for anyone else to join me if they don’t want to. I will do it alone and I will love it. Life is meant to be lived and sometimes, no one wants to experience what you want to. Will this stop me? No way.

Another only child syndrome symptom I believe I have is relationship bonding and because I never had a legit sibling bond, I grow really attached to my friends and create everlasting bonds with them. Not in a creepy way, but in a family kind of way. I also like to have lot of friends to compensate for my lack of sibling-ness. I love to be around others. I love to meet people. Growing up with a wonderful yet introverted mother, I had to often step out of my shell to create smooth conversations with store clerks or waiters. Because of this, I have become outgoing and find it pretty easy to strike up conversations with strangers. Don’t get me wrong, alone time is also something I yearn for seeing as that is what I grew up with, but there’s only so much alone time I can handle before I crave conversation with others.

This post was not meant to be a bragging outlet for me. This was to alert those who may stereotype us only children that sometimes, statistics are wrong. I love being an only child with a single mother. I would not have my life any other way. I am who I am because of it. I truly believe that the traits I exhibit are because of the only child circumstances in my life. And frankly, I’m proud to have only child syndrome.

Why I Won’t Be Successful #1

I had an epiphany today.  Not really, I just wanted to be dramatic.  But the point that I will never be successful in this life was once again made perfectly manifest.  When I helped my brother and sister-in-law move to Wyoming we passed six hitchhikers that were only wearing cowboy hats and boots.  Just like then, I saw things today that, as Curly Sue said, made me want to lose my belly.  I just can’t play the game and so, I will never be a success in this life.

Friday at work I noticed “National Boss Day” was Sunday.  But the thought started and died right there.  Once I left work, I didn’t I didn’t think of the office nor my boss all weekend.  I know, I’m a horrible employee.  When I got to work this morning, I noticed the calendar again. 

“Dang me,” I thought.  “I forgot to get a card.”  Then I thought maybe I could make one and print it.  It would be cute like a child’s homemade card to a parent.   

Before I could ask my officemate if she wanted to help me our boss walked in.  She thanked my officemate for the lovely card and gave her a shoulder hug.  My officemate waved it off and then, oh yes, it gets better, she said, “You’re just so underappreciated here.”  That’s when my breakfast almost revisited me.  And so, I made a mature decision on the spot, to ignore both of them for the rest of the day and I put my earphones in.

I cannot play the game.  I choose not to play the game.  First of all, is it really necessary to have a day set aside for the people I spend 40 hours a week with?  Who came up with this remembrance day, anyway?  I think it was the CEO’s of Hallmark.  Not only did they get another day people rush to get a card (genius) but they also get their own egos stroked (double genius).  

But I digress.  I should be taking notes of how to ingratiate myself as my officemate has done.  Instead, I roll my eyes like a teenage girl after she’s given a curfew.  I won’t play the game.

Moab in August

I like to take vacations for my birthday in August.  One year, I convinced my sister NJ to go to Moab with me.  We were excited for our vacation. We were camping for the weekend and staying at a KOA in Moab, Utah, and it was our first time going there. Our destination: Arches National Park. I had seen pictures and postcards of the arches and various people posing by the arches and decided it might be fun. NJ went along for the ride.

When we started Saturday morning, the weather was a bit rainy. We thought it prudent to take our jackets – and left the sun-screen. Another item left behind was food – we weren’t really that hungry. But we did remember to bring water.

My car had been suffering with arthritis for some time. Meaning, I could usually roll the power windows down, but couldn’t get them up for hours. I rolled my window down as far as it would go – about 1/4 way and paid our entry fee to the park. The window, of course, didn’t roll back up. A slight drizzle of rain fell and I got a little wet as we drove in the park. We had a map with us and decided we’d follow the road as far as it went, and stop along the way.

Our first stop was at the Windows. Luckily, enough time had passed that I managed to get my window up. I was more concerned about rain getting in than an intruder. Who would want my car?! Then again, the only place my car has ever been broken into is Utah.

We eagerly walked the small hike up to the Windows and took our photos. This was pre-Facebook so the pictures are actually still on my camera.  We decided against walking to Turret, as that seemed a little more distant (little did we know what was in store for us!).

Again we drove and I turned on my windshield wipers because of the rain. Somewhere we were to find a formation called “Elephant March,” and I wanted to be sure to take pictures of it for my niece, MM. MM loves elephants. She was supposed to be with us (and her mother) but they got a better offer to do something else and ditched us.

Most of my pictures ended up being various angles of the elephant rock. “Oh, this angle is better, look at that,” (click) “Oh, look at it now!” (click). You would have thought it was a real elephant herd moving.

My list of must sees consisted of seeing the Delicate Arch. Which was our next stop. I looked at the clock. It was still morning. “We’ll be back at our kabin (KOA thinks it’s cute to misspell “C” words. Konfusing kids everywhere, I’m sure!) by two or two-thirty at the latest by this rate!” I exclaimed.

The parking lot to the largest arch was nearly full but we found a spot. “I don’t see it,” I said as I looked at the map again. We got out and read the sign explaining about the arch. We were going to have to hike. That’s okay, we said enthusiastically. After all, we were camping. The sky was still spotted with clouds, so we tied our jackets around our waists. NJ grabbed a bottle of water. “Want one?” she asked.

“Nah, I don’t think I’ll need one,” I said making sure I had my camera. “I don’t usually get thirsty and I don’t want to carry a bottle.”

We locked up the car and walked over to the sign again. One and a half miles. We could do that. I quickly calculated my usual walks. This would be easy.

The two of us started off, so eager, so energetic. We took a small detour to see petroglyphs and an old cabin along the way. An old cowboy had actually lived out there due to health reasons. When his daughter and her family came to stay with him though, she hated the area and convinced her dad to move with them elsewhere.

Oh, the two of us were setting quite the pace. We came to an area where the trail was on rock. We diligently followed the trail markers (piles of rocks). There were also plenty of people coming down and passing us. It was easy to follow the trail even though it wasn’t a dirt path any longer.

We got to the top of the rock and were feeling a bit tired. I discovered NJ doesn’t like walking up hills, she lagged behind every hill we came to. Another thing we started to notice: the clouds disappeared. The sun was beginning to punish us silly people for trying to exert energy. But we had to be getting closer. For it being the biggest arch, I thought it would be coming into view very soon.

The two of us continued on. Then an odd thing happened. We were the only two walking the trail. The path had become a dirt trail again, easier to follow. But there were still piles of rocks to follow also.

We came to a small line of rocks. I thought it was odd because unlike the piles of rocks, these were laid end to end. “What does that mean?” I asked NJ who had just caught up. “This looks like a dam or something.” We were still the only two on the trail so I made a decision. On the other side of the dam was a pile of rocks, albeit, a smaller pile than previous ones.

I stepped over the dam, though I still wasn’t completely sure. We continued to walk a dirt path down and up as is the case when walking in the mountainous desert. NJ fell behind again. After several moments, and climbing another hill, I thought it strange that we had not seen another person for sometime. I thought NJ was about to faint as she seemed to be forcing herself to make each step. I looked ahead and there was still another dip and another larger hill in front of us. “This doesn’t feel right,” I called to NJ. “What should we do?”

Her face registered panic.

“It’s the biggest arch in the park, why can’t we see it?”

She looked around.

“Should we go back and try to find the trail again? (By this time, my trail had become narrower and narrower almost disappearing completely). Or should we keep going? It’s gotta be over that next hill.” Of course, that’s what I had been thinking for sometime. “It’s the biggest arch, why can’t we see it!” I repeated like a crazy person.

NJ was barely moving. I decided to backtrack. It didn’t take long until I saw some people walking towards us. I watched them like a mountain lion studying its prey. They were walking in our direction, looking at us as if we were crazy, then they turned. Turned?! I focused on the tree they turned at so that I could find it when we got closer. I beckoned to NJ to follow me and headed for that tree.

The tree was by the dam we had stepped over.  I stepped over the dam again and realized it was telling us to turn. Oops! Silly me. I misread the signs. NJ caught up to me and didn’t look like someone who was in the mood for mistakes. “Sorry,” I said as nicely as possible. But then I realized it wasn’t all my fault, why didn’t she speak up? “I could’ve used some help reading the markers, you know.”

“What markers?”

We made the turn and again found the trail. The last part was walking up more rock, it was a rock ledge actually. NJ was behind me again.

Finally, we walked around the corner and there it was! The biggest arch. “That is big,” I said. Why couldn’t we see it from where we were?

We took as many pictures as we could before we started back down. As much as NJ dislikes walking uphill, she loves walking downhill. She took the lead for most of the walk back (except for one hill we had to climb, I passed her. As soon as we were going downhill again, she passed me). I was left to myself to think of our hike, the sun which felt like it was melting my clothes into my skin, how thirsty I was (NJ shared her water but I didn’t think it would be fair for me to drink that much of it, since she was the one carrying it), how my feet were aching, how hard it is to walk on rock (it seemed to jar my whole body), and how I didn’t think I was ever going to see the car again.

But another thought came to me. The thought that I am on this path, this journey of life with trail markers leading me along. If I lose focus, or go after other markers, I could lose sight of my goal completely. I could not even see the arch (even though I had to be close) from where we had stopped. There was only one path to follow to get to our destination, and I made us work harder than we needed to work.

Our experience also reminded me of the John Wayne saying, “Life is hard. It’s even harder if you’re stupid.”

After we got to the car, we decided if we couldn’t see anything without walking, we didn’t necessarily need to see it.

After relating our experience to the family, MM used it in her talk for sacrament meeting. Though she improvised a few facts. We were not “looking for a shortcut,” – we were just too stupid to read the markers – and we didn’t “jump over a wall.” It was merely a step.