I have found how to live more than one life in this life. Really. I’ve had many lives since I was born, even carrying into adulthood. I’ll admit I enjoyed some more than others. None do I want to do again. That’s going backwards and as I like to say “Been there, done that, got (or didn’t want) a tee-shirt.” Things that weren’t fun aren’t worth getting a tee-shirt to remember.
I guess my first change in life was when I was in pre-school. My parents moved from Chattanooga, Tennessee where I was born to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I LOVED it. We lived in an apartment building which I thought it was constant vacation living like a hotel. We had a winking burger sign out our kitchen window that lit up not only did he wink at night but he waved too! Dad had a yellow car that belonged to his company it was neat looking but I didn’t get to ride in it. We lived near where Flipper was filmed. The beach was grand and there was lots of sun. Once we found a police phone receiver in a parking lot. We went trick or treating without leaving the apartment building. I mean really how can you beat living in a place like that? On a visit back to Granny’s (my paternal grandmother) I informed her “I am a FLORIDA girl now.” Yes I remember saying it and holding out my brown dress with big yellow sunflowers print to prove the veracity of my statement. Little did I know I was on the odyssey of my second life in this one.
Apparently a winking waving burger sign out the kitchen window at night wasn’t what Mom and Dad were looking for in a place to raise a their daughter. We didn’t live there long before we moved back to Tennessee. I didn’t know it but Florida would be home at least two more of my lives later down the road.
I was a city kid that moved to the country. Then I was the country kid that went to the big college. I was a photographer in there for a bit. Then I was and still am a military wife. I worked for a nonprofit organizations as an office manager. Then I was an administrative assistant for one of the first in-house HMOs in upstate New York. Then I was a fine jewelry salesperson. Then I was a submariner officer’s wife who was looking for work. Then I was an insurance agent, followed by marketing researcher, followed by Health Club manager, followed by: a Weight Watcher’s lecturer, grad student, receptionist, office manager, real estate agent, temp worker, administrative assistant, Mary Kay Salesperson, Regulatory Compliance Specialist for management of hazardous and radioactive waste, stay at home mom, and now a
Those were just the job lives so far. We all go through changes and honestly if the order was shifted a bit I’d be a different person today. Each experience dovetailed into the previous and the next one to weave me. I look back at myself at any of those stages and the me of today would have handled them differently. That’s why they seem more like different lives than chapters of a life.
I always remember when writing that characters that are well done grow over chapters and aren’t the same person at the end of the tale as they were in the beginning or middle. That’s what makes a good story. I like to think the same thing applies to life. At the end of each chapter I’m not the same. That means I’m living a good life. I’m a great character because I change over the arc of my life story. Okay I’m not a literary character in that my growth isn’t mostly internal like say my ancestor that lived in the same house all her life. I’ve changed physically and moved to various settings. So I’m a dynamic character formed not just by internal dialogue (though I do talk to myself ALL the time so much so that sometimes I wish I’d shut up in my head) but by external challenges too.
In the end the thing that makes life interesting for me is trying new things. I guess some would say I’m a jack of all trades master of none. Maybe I am but at least I’m entertained by my life. I’ve always got an interesting story to tell from all of it be it mine or a person I met along the way. I guess that’s why I ended up a writer for now at least.