What happens when your dreams come true? (you live happily ever after)

I’ve always loved that line from “Willy Wonka.” (The orignal movie with Gene Wilder, not the crazy one with Johnny Depp.)

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I wondered how I would feel, what it would be like at this moment.

We learn about dreams when we’re little, listening to the fairy-tales of maidens and princes and happily-ever-afters. As we grow, we find that life isn’t all that was promised to us and we begin the task of unraveling those illusions and putting them back in the order in which we see fit.

I did that.

Life wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be when I found myself a single mother of four. I learned about life through their eyes, putting my life on hold while I tried to mold the minds of my children and teach them values that I thought were important.

When the nest emptied, I found myself thinking about what I wanted to with the rest of my life.

I knew I wanted to do something different, something totally unexpected.

So I started a Bucket List. Some items I had on it included auditioning for a movie (“The Final Season” auditions were that year). Another was getting a tattoo (ouch) and going back to college and actually getting a degree. I also learned to ski how to play the piano. And I traveled. No place fancy, but I wanted to see  the country.

I didn’t really have a dream of owning a newspaper until I was half way through college. My real dream was to become a respected journalist and to be able to use my writing for good.

I’ve done that. I may not be the most accomplished writer, but I know that my heart is in everything I write. (Well, most everything).

And I love what I do. How lucky am I, to be able to do what I love? I probably have said it before, but I’m still amazed that my life turned out the way it did. It has been said that happiness is not a destination. but a form of traveling.

I heard a parable one time about a woman who happened to find favor in Buddha’s eyes. He granted one wish, that was all, and she needed to think wisely about that wish. She took her time, asked people what they thought she should wish for. They told her, “Gold! Wish for Gold!” They also told her to wish for a rich husband and other things that would make her life easier. But when it was time to make her wish, she didn’t know what to wish for. So she asked Buddha what she should wish for. “If I were you, I would wish for contentment, so that no matter what happened to you, you will always be happy.” And that’s what she did. And she lived happily ever after.

And so, that’s the attitude I take. Come what may…I am content.

It’s too late to turn back now

Those of you who follow my blog already know that in a week I will be publishing the first issue of my community newspaper.

So many emotions are going through me that it’s hard to concentrate on anything else.

But there’s one emotion that I don’t think I have ever felt before.

I guess it can best be described as a calm fear.

It’s certainly not a usual kind of fear. I’m not panicking, nor am I overwhelmed at the thought that anything could go wrong at this point. It’s more like your first day of school; you’re excited and scared at the same time. But the anticipation and excitement overshadows the fear. And you know the fear is there-you can feel its presence, but you have no intention of letting it control you.

Yeah, that’s exactly how it feels.

So, here goes nothing, or everything. There’s no turning back, even if I wanted to. But that’s kind of silly, because quitting was never an option.

So, I’m on an emotional roller coaster right now, but in a good way. I’m feeling a mixture of pride, accomplishment, satisfaction, contentment, but also a bit of impatience and frustration. It’s normal, I guess, to feel all these things as I enter new territory. But I do know what I’m doing, and that’s a great feeling in itself.

As long as we don’t get a big blizzard that would delay the delivery of my first issue, everything will be fine … (To Be Continued).

Being bossy is not my style

I can now say that I have a staff of four. Well, technically, they’re not my employees, but they are willing to help me out until I get the newspaper on its feet. Then I may think about hiring them for real.

I’ve been the boss before, but I’ve been fortunate. My days at the Mount Mercy Times were more of a team effort.  I think I may have had to throw my weight around only a few times, and even then, the casualties were minor.

But that’s just not my style. I know I’ll have to get gruff once in a while, especially when it will be my own newspaper at stake, but I don’t think I have to be a you-know-what to get my point across.

Still, I can’t let them walk all over me either.

Is it possible to be a kind and understanding boss, but still get the respect that is essential to make the business run smoothly?

That might be something I have to work at. Let’s face it; everyone is capable of having their dark side emerge from time to time. It just depends on if you allow it. Believe me, I have had some bosses who didn’t care if they hurt the feelings of others, and some I wondered of it actually made them feel good to do it.

I definitely won’t be like that, but I have a feeling that I won’t always be the nice person I am 99% of the time. I think I  will do anything to see this newspaper get on its feet and if that means firing someone to do that, I will.

It doesn’t sound like much fun, but it might be necessary. I hope not, but it’s always a possibility, and I’m just being realistic.

But maybe I’m worried about nothing, and everyone will do what I say when I say it and I won’t have someone coming up to me deadline day and say they didn’t get a story written or a picture taken.

Yeah, right.

High school revisited

I attended a Kennedy High School basketball game the other night, the first time in more than 30 years.

The Kennedy Cougar at a boys varsity basketball game Feb.7 against Iowa City West. Unfortunately, Kennedy lost the game. (Photo by Cynthia Petersen)

I really had no reason to visit the school after I graduated in 1981, other than attend a few plays.

But it was kind of fun going back to high school, even for a couple of hours.

Kennedy looked pretty much the same, except I remember the gym being much bigger. But I suppose it just seemed bigger back then.

I can still remember how it felt not to have the worries I have today, to have the dreams and aspirations I had then, to know that my whole life was ahead of me.

I loved being 17, mostly because the world was full of possibilities, and I felt like I could do anything I wanted to do. And I did.

Sometimes I have dreams (more like nightmares!) about being back in high school and not being able to remember my locker combination or my schedule, or not being able to find my car in the huge, never-ending parking lot. But then I wake up and realize that I’m almost 50 years old, and I don’t have to be there.

Should I let out a sigh of relief that I’m no longer an immature adolescent, or retreat back to my dreams and be glad that for a few moments I can remember what it was like to be 17?

Maybe I’ll just be thankful that I don’t have to relive the past 30 years, and I can enjoy what I have accomplished so far.

To boldly go where no man has gone before…

I recently became hooked on “The Big Bang Theory,” a TV show about four science geeks and Penny, a normal girl who lives across the hall.

 Why I’ve become addicted to it, I’m not sure, but I think it’s because it’s so different. Sure, it’s predictable. But the interactions between the characters are hilarious enough to keep the show moving along at a steady pace.

Sheldon and Leonard are roommates, Howard lives with his mother, and Raj can’t talk to girls, literally. They are all huge sci-fi freaks and it’s just really funny to imagine that there are people in this world who are like that. And it’s true. There are. A lot.

Sheldon is in love with Dr. Spock of “Star Trek” fame. Penny once gave him a napkin(she works as a waitress at the Cheesecake Factory) signed by Leonard Nimoy for Christmas, and he went as far as to hug her (those who have seen the show know that Sheldon does not show emotion easily).

So why am I telling you all this?

Because I’ve been thinking lately how people, like the guys from the show, are often viewed as strange, weird, and socially inept, just because they are more intelligent than most. But they are actually the thinkers of the world, the ones with the courage to make things happen.

I had an interview today with Bev Daws, a woman who knew the founder of Hiawatha, Faye Clark. Clark had a vision, she said. He saw what a small plot of land could become and set out to make it happen. Hiawatha had a population of 75 in 1951 and today it has over 7,000.

“It’s hard to start something new,” said Daws. “But Faye saw a need, and he did what he could to fill that need.”

She explained that many soldiers were coming home from World War II and there was a shortage of housing.  Clark knew they would need a place to live, so he decided to build a new town for them.

Clark probably didn’t have any idea the impact he would have on so many people, but maybe he didn’t have to. After all, Daws said that he didn’t do it for fame or fortune; he did it because he was a good person and wanted to help people.

And that’s the way it should be.




Better luck next time

So I did it. I finally broke my New Year’s resolution. Well, I actually broke it a couple of times before; sort of.

My blogging resolution lasted a month, which was longer than my other resolutions.

I made the resolution that I would write a blog everyday and post at least one a week on Facebook. I wrote everyday, though sometimes it didn’t get posted until late and it showed up on WordPress with the next day’s date. But I was satisfied knowing that I wrote every day, just like I said I would.

However, I wasn’t able to write yesterday and I realized that I won’t be able to commit any longer. I still planning on writing when I can, but the pressure is just too much to write everyday.

I only have 26 days before I send the first issue of my newspaper to print. I’ll be lucky if I get all the articles written that I need to before then.

So, another resolution bites the dust, but I don’t really need a reason to write. It was just a fun challenge for myself. Now I know I can do it. For a month, anyway.

Maybe next time I’ll try for two.