How many times in your life have you started over?
You might say we start over every day, and you’d be right in a sense. But I don’t really notice it day by day. It takes something big to shake me up and make me ask: Who will I be now, and how will I live my life?
The first time I started over was the year my parents split up. I was 2, and have little memory of it. But it gave me my first taste of a truth I’ve since learned to treasure: Loss is hard to bear, but it also brings gifts.
The loss of my parents’ marriage allowed me to be closer to my grandparents. They made sure I had all I needed in every way. I can’t imagine my life without them.
My second “start over” came when I was 7. We lived with my grandparents in a small town. Thanks to nonstop drama from my mother and her eight sisters, I lived a life of adventure.
Then my mother remarried, and we moved to a cow pasture where my only amusements (besides my brothers who were more bother than fun) were cows. I thought my life was over.
But leaving a life I had loved gave me the gift of new friends, new experiences and a new awareness of who I was.
Best of all, it taught me the joy of solitude. How to dream and imagine and think and pray and tell my own stories. How to be alone and at peace in the nurture of Nature, even in the company of cows. It’s a gift every child ought to own. We all need less time with electronics and more time in the wild.
Again, I was blessed. One door closed and another opened, and my life didn’t end. Instead, I began a new chapter. I felt that way again when I finished high school; went off to college; moved across country; married and had three children.
Every time my life changed in some profound way, I missed what had been, but looked forward to what lay ahead.
The exception was the loss of my first husband, my children’s father, after a lengthy battle with cancer. For a while, I found it hard to think about the future, let alone, to look forward to it.
But even a devastating loss can bring gifts. Once again, I was blessed. My children thrived. Our lives moved forward. And in time, I remarried and began a new chapter in an interesting place called Las Vegas.
My sister likes to tell people that I moved to Vegas to work as an exotic dancer in a club for senior citizens. That is not true. We moved to Vegas because my husband took a job there as an editor. I merely write a column at home, in my pajamas.
For 12 years, we have loved the Vegas chapter of our lives. Sunsets we’ve shared. Friends we’ve treasured. Music he has played. Visits we’ve celebrated with family and friends.
When we left California, we had no grandchildren and our grown kids loved visiting us in Vegas. Now, as of last count, we have six grandkids, ages 7 to 1. They are growing up faster than I can slather Biofreeze. And my husband retired two years ago.
And so, we have decided once again to start over. Slowly, in the next few months, we plan to leave the desert of Nevada and move back to the coast of California, to family and friends and a nearly 100-year-old house where I raised my children and lived several chapters of my life.
Just when you think you’ve done it all, God laughs and says, “Time to start a new chapter.”
Who will I be now? The same person I’ve been: Wife, mother, nana, writer ... a woman who means well, though at times, could use better sense.
How will I live? Not so differently. I’ll spend less time sleeping late and more time wrestling little people. And instead of floating in a pool listening to coyotes, I’ll bundle up at the beach, listening to sea lions and foghorns and surf.
It will be an adventure. I’m looking forward to it. I hope you’ll come along for the ride.
Sharon Randall can be reached at P.O. Box 777394 Henderson NV 89077 or on her website: www.sharonrandall.com.