Plan B

I am by no means an expert in this thing called life. I just thought I should start with that disclaimer and get it out in the open. So take this for what you will but I think I have discovered at least one key to life. I guarantee there is probably more than one but from personal observation I have gleaned at least this one key component. Here it is: life is all about plan B.

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Broken Table and Broken Dreams

I finally conceded I needed to give the table away. It is a big (by today’s standards) kitchen table probably built in the 1940’s. All wood, it is heavy and cumbersome. Not really designed for today’s compact modern world. But for me giving it away was a difficult decision because it represented a dream unfulfilled. Although I have lived long enough to know the importance of plan B’s in my life, giving up on a long held dream is not an easy thing to do. I took comfort in the fact that the table not only represented a plan B in my life, but it must have also been similar for my grandma nearly 55 years earlier. We are connected with this broken table and broken dreams. At least, that’s what I tell myself.

Table with the three leaves leaning against the wall
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Life Resume

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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

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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.