Someone asked my daughter about the best advice she’d ever received, and to my surprise, she told him the advice I’d preached to her all her life: You don’t have to be just one thing. I did more than preach it. I lived it.

I started out as a wife on a hobby farm which morphed into a stay-at-home mom until the opportunity to go to college came along. I grabbed it with both hands and succeeded. My goal was to be the best math teacher ever, but after several years of substituting and working as a teacher, I decided there must be better ways to make a living. I found there were not only easier ways that paid much better, but there were lots of opportunities. With my degree in math and minor in history, I moved from teacher to labor market statistician to newsletter editor to timber sale accountant to archaeological technician to natural resources technical writer/editor. In my working life, I was more than one thing.

Going from one job to another required getting out of comfort zones and facing new challenges. First days on the job were always the worst because of the nagging question of whether I did the right thing. Learning never ended but continues throughout my life. It didn’t have to be work related either. During all my careers, I also found time to take art lessons for several years (I even sold a painting in a gallery) and joined a clogging dance group and performed at many functions over the years. I learned to quilt which led to closets full of colorful fabric creations. I read books of all kinds, fiction and nonfiction. I spent years as a literacy tutor for adults who couldn’t read.


Even with trying all kinds of new things, I knew I wasn’t quite where I was supposed to be. I kept searching for what I loved the most, and I finally found it when I retired. I became a fiction writer. I know in my heart of hearts that’s what I was always meant to be. The satisfaction and peace writing give me was worth the journey and the search. Without those, I wouldn’t be as good of a writer. I learned from each experience that got me to where I am today.

Here are a few of the important lessons I’ve learned in my lifetime:

Many educational institutions have these words over their doors: Knowledge is Power. It’s true. The more you know, the better off you are. The more you know, the more things you can do. The more things you can do, the more interesting life you’ll have.

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