As a young girl growing up in a small farming town in the south, I dreamed of adventure.

I wanted to fly in a plane, live in exotic locations, and see amazing sites. There were mountains to climb, rainforests to explore, oceans to swim, and pyramids to investigate. I was sure I could solve the mysteries of the universe. I read everything I could and wrote stories about the images that filled my mind, never expecting to see those places for myself.

As a teenager, matrimony wasn’t on my radar. I wanted to see the world and thought marriage would put an end to that. I grew up, graduated from college, and joined the Air Force, where I met the man I would eventually marry.

I married in my twenties, and we weren’t sure we wanted to have children. We were both active duty military and children are a particular concern (or should be) for people who can be sent overseas to a remote location at a moment’s notice. When we decided to propagate the species, I chose to give up my military career, and it worked out well for us. We were able to live in Italy for a few years and traveled as often as we could with my husband’s work schedule and two young children. Through vacations and work assignments, I’ve managed to visit many places that filled my childhood dreams, but there’s still more to see and do.

Another childhood dream of mine was to study karate, but I was never in a position to do so. In my thirties, I considered this dream to be dead… until my children took karate lessons. Rather than watch them practice multiple times a week, I convinced the owner of the studio to start a class for parents. I loved it, and I remained a student of karate long after the kids tired of the sport and moved on to other activities. Today, I practice Tai Chi instead of the more intense Shorinji Kempo. 

In my forties, I lived in Colorado and vowed I would never move back to the southeastern United States, where it was hot, humid, muggy, and buggy… unless we had a pool. We moved to North Carolina in 2006. We don’t have a pool (we decided it would be too much work), but I love my waterfall.

I never thought I would be able to retire from my IT career before I turned sixty, but I did. One of the most significant items on the things-I-never-expected-to-do checklist also occurred later in life. If someone had asked me when I would publish a novel fifteen years ago, I would have laughed at them. Now I’m a published author writing not one, but two book series. I also contribute regularly to a newspaper.

A few years ago I rediscovered hiking. It was a way for my daughter and me to recover from our surgeries. Now we try to make at least one good hike a week. On our last three day hiking trip, we did 15 miles in one day. A personal best for me since I’ve retired.

I no longer place limits on myself. Life is full of wonderful surprises, and it’s up to me to embrace life and live it to the fullest.