It was the spring 1988 and I was finishing my internship at the Mayo Clinic. My roommates and I were so excited to complete our mission. It was the best and the most challenging time of our lives. We had formally graduated from OT school with a grand ceremony back home at the University. We returned to metropolis Rochester Minnesota to complete our experience at Mayo. We did therapy 12 hours day learning from some of the best practitioners in the country. At night we studied research and practiced our therapy skills on each other until we would fall asleep.
Saturday morning we packed up our debilitated apartment and dropped of the keys to the landlord. The apartment was good to us with our make shift shower, disgusting kitchen and lumpy beds. The cars packed with all of our worldly belongings fit into one truck load. The four-year experience left us more broke then we started. We were lucky to have a buck or two in our pockets that we would pool together for a tank of gas. The goal was alway to have a few bills left for beers. I was homebound to Milwaukee, Cherrie would stay at Mayo and Lisa was heading to Colorado.
Our lives story waiting to be written.
I was returning to Milwaukee with Diane. The weekend of graduation we were engage to be married the summer after graduation. The excitement of our wedding, starting our new life with the promise our destination would bring. As I reflect back, it certainly was a decade of firsts. Everything in our life was new with ideas about what our life would and should bring. We both had graduated from college and started our first jobs that would charter decades of a careers that would take on a life of its own. Though our career would yield a few painful sucker punches, they continue to be an important part of life.
We were sluggish at best to give up our garden apartment on the east side with no responsibility, a pool and heated underground garage for a house in the suburbs. Some of our life seems like were attempted to live the romantic television lives complete with two cars in the garage, the house in the suburbs, a child and a dog in the yard. Little did we know that our modest brick ranch would become home and be a source of many our memories. My son would be born, play in our wooded yard and grown up to be a fine young man, this year college bound himself. When I ask my son what are his best memories of his life, he always says it is our traditions that he remembers most. He talks of our birthday celebrations with our families, decorating our house for the holidays and hot cinnamon rolls while we open our presents. I think it is our traditions that have grounded us life.
The other weekend we were in the basement trying to find a document we needed. Though I only spent hours looking, Diane was down there for days. Our lives documents in bankers boxes sorted by years, told the story of the first half-century of our life. The boxes were full of medical bills. Surprisingly more than remembered and most that we wanted to forget. There were student loan repayment receipts, the last book with two more until we reach the golden ticket. Credit card statements without one late notice, funding everything in our leave it to beaver home. There would documents for funeral arrangements of our 3 of our parents that will not be forgotten. A box for each year of our life together neatly organized cataloging our journey.
This is what I would do…
- Attend college and meet people who would become my life long friends.
- Marry my best friend to share all the good times and help each other forgot the bad.
- Raise our son to be a funny, smart, musical, computer obsessed man.
- Put my families first place in my life.
- Work hard in my job to help those in this world that have a bigger burden than I will ever understand.
Diane and I are 50 this week and very emotional about the experience. Wondering what we have accomplished, determined to find meaning. While this half-century of my journey comes to a close, I am most excited about where the next coördinates will lead. One of my friends posted this week on my Facebook page; “Life starts at 50!” All week-long I thought, yeah this friend is right, life starts at 50. I’m smarter, more talented, centered and strong ready to handle where ever life leads my journey.
In response to the daily prompt: Buffalo Nickel