I glanced up at my calendar on the wall as I wiped the fog from my eyes — trying to orient to another day. I was instantly reminded of a time way back in the day when we were so free and so wild. Life was joyful then — no worries, no cares, no responsibilities.
August 1st — the birthday of my best friend Brenda — what a memorable day. It’s been over 40 years now but a bell rings instinctively in my head — every year on this date.
It was all about the boys then — which one to chase, which one to kiss, which one to keep for a while. We flipped a coin for one on this date – we just happened to spot him at the same time. Boy was that a day I will never forget! I won the toss – or so I thought. With the flip of a coin my whole life changed. Up until then my life was pretty neat and tidy — every thing in its place as I liked it. But oh was I naive! I could be sucked in like a vacuum cleaner when it came to the opposite sex. One of my mother’s favorite sermons still rings in my ears: “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything!”. She preached it a thousand times but I never heard it once. At nineteen I was still stubborn and had my own definite mindset – thinking I was really grown when I was so far from it.
The ringing of that familiar bell — August 1st 1965 — still gives me a headache sometimes. What started as a day full of giggles and plans for the rest of a really fun day turned into the beginning of a downhill slippery slope for a good part of the rest of my life ’til now. I innocently handed over the keys to my freedom, my joy, and my common sense to the prize that I thought I had won from the coin toss on that fateful day. But life often delivers some interesting and sometimes painful twist and turns.
I received a postcard from Brenda today – just like clockwork. As always she signed it with a happy face and the face of a case quarter (as we called it) — a reminder of how life can change with the flip of coin or one bad decision.
Only seven months after that coin toss I ran off and got married to someone I never really knew. He turned out to be the boogeyman we all feared as children. I could have escaped many times but God knew that I had a lot of lessons to learn first. I needed so much help and didn’t know where to turn to get it. But time can be a blessing or a curse — it’s just about how we chose to use it.
Those seventeen years we remained together were torturous sometimes for me but a blessing at other times. Two beautiful seeds were planted during that time and I watered and nurtured them with everything I had left in me. I am so proud of my seeds that have blossomed into two beautiful human beings. And as for me? I used that time wisely — time that often felt like prison time. I used it to educate myself, reinvent a free-form, ‘flakey’ teen into a damn good business woman with a toughened spirit.
And when I had learned enough lessons to handle my responsibility I moved on create a brand new and wonderful life.
Life Lesson: “Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”