This is me in 1995 when I first went to work at the Indiana Daily Student and newly back from my three month adventure in Scotland. I was 50 years old. It has been quite a journey, with a lot of positive forward movement and a lot of bumps and losses along the way.
I got that job at the IDS when I needed employment desperately. I found a home there with my co-workers who became dear friends, and the hundreds of students I worked with during that time. We survived the sudden death of our boss and kept cranking those papers out. I think he would have been proud. During those 17 years there was a second marriage, a second divorce, 911, breast cancer, my son achieved his dream of becoming a fireman, joined a writing community that brought amazing people into my life, the gift of going into the Monroe County Jail and holding a writing circle for the female inmates, the coming together of five friends who meet monthly to figure out how to be our best selves, a poetry discussion group established and thriving, a yearly retreat to Brown County where four of my dearest friends and I gather to tell our stories, the reacquaitance with some family members who have become very dear to me, a reconnection with friends from school days, the loss of my brother, dad, mother and sister-in-law in a span of less than a year, and preparation for retirement.
It took a village for me to get here. And what a village it was! I’ve had the support of my son, who is always steady and calm, my childhood friend Sharon who has seen me through all of my journeys, a reconnection of another childhood friend, Terri, who welcomed me into to her home through my father’s long illness and passing, my long-time friends Barbara and Merry who have always been there for me with unconditional love, Vivian and Barbara who opened their homes to me for five months so that I could save money and retire debt free, my cousin Diana and her husband Jay who asked me to move in with them, making retirement affordable for me, my cousins Deb, Rich, Shane, Shell, Carson, Brian and Kevin who gave me a family again, Beth Lodge-Rigal and Women Writing for (a) Change who kept me writing and gave me the wonderful gift of the presumption of goodwill and all the gifts that writing community has brought to my life, my friend Jackie who helped me found Poetry Detectives and has a wicked sense of humor, every amazing woman I’ve met through WWf(a)C , I treasure each and every one of you. I hope I haven’t left any one out. You are all precious to me and have helped me get to this wonderful time of my life. Retirement. I started working when I was 13 years old. I’m over it. I’m ready for the next adventure. These last 11 months have been all about me, something I’m not used to. Now it’s time to turn things outward again. It’s time for me to repay and pay it forward. And not stop with 26 acts of kindness. Time for lucky me to give back to the universe.
Rebekah for the Poplar Grove Muse