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Brenda has been writing since grade school. She attended journalism school where she majored in professional writing. She loves to decorate, garden, read and spend time with her Yorkies.

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Java Talk: What You Would Have Done Differently



So we're dreaming a little dream today. Of what could have been. Or what we might have done. But we didn't, so it's all in fun. It doesn't mean we aren't happy with the choices we made. Just thinking about how we might have done it different, if that choice was before us. 

Game? 


Okay, if I had it to do over, I might never have married. 

I guess I'm just a loner and never was marriage material. I wish I'd known then what I know now.


Yet, all I wanted, growing up as I did, was a family to call my very own. That's all I could think about. So at 17 I had my first child. I don't regret that at all. But I wish I'd waited until I was older. For both our sake. So if I hadn't married, would I just be an old maid, as they use to call them when I was young? A librarian with a house full of meowing cats? 

Well, here's the reality first. I started out in college in the school of social work. I wanted to help people like me. People whose families were a long line of either bad genetics or bad behavior. 

But that was a little too close for comfort after I'd taken a bunch of classes, so I went to the interior design department and discussed going into that field with an adviser there.. 

However, that was in the eighties and I was talked out of it. They told me if I didn't want to decorate offices, there wasn't much to make money doing. I beg to differ now. But that was then and this is now. 

So I went over to the school of journalism. Took me awhile to find my place. But it was really where I belonged at the time, so I have no regrets there. My first big feature article garnered me four regional and national awards. The topic was on incest, in 1983, back when people kept quiet about that. 

The woman I interviewed for the article was pretty overweight, and she told me she was hiding within her fat. That she felt safer there. Once she told me her story, I could see why. 


Both her grandfathers had molested her as a child. One grandfather was the town minister. The other the town drunk. Two damned fools at opposite ends of the spectrum, but who committed the most vile of crimes. And would never be charged with it.  


Anyway, that seemed to be my calling back then. And now I'm blogging. So I feel like I've gone back to my roots in many ways after a long sabbatical of sorts. 



Okay, so back to what I would have maybe done different. After I won the awards, which I knew nothing about because the journalism department entered me in them without telling me, I could have had my pick of big schools to relocate to. 


Having been chosen #6 in the country for that year in feature writing by the best in the field for the William Randolph Hearst award got me attention I was not accustomed to. And really, was never comfortable with. 


Then I won the Gaylord award and had to go to a big dinner, and walk up to a stage to accept it. I had to pick out a dress and put on heels and be totally uncomfortable. And wished sitting there a nervous wreck that I could just melt into the floor. That was not me and never will be. 

I began to wish they'd never entered me in all those award competitions.

I had young children. The oldest was just nine, and I wasn't going to be going to the best journalism schools, or be flown to Miami to talk to their newspaper people. So I stayed put and did freelance articles and didn't really make piddly money wise, but it was what I knew.

And though my topics were hard and sad and heartbreaking, I found I was very good at recreating crime scenes and someone's last moments. I chose to do what I was doing. It was not a pretty picture. None of them were.

I know. Sounds bleak, doesn't it. Of all the things to be good at. 

But the fact of the matter is, you can't put yourself in someone's dead shoes over and over again and research everything they did or ate or wore without getting them stuck in your head. Because at the end of the article and the end of the day, there was just a question mark. 

No place to go from there. No answers, because the dead take the answers with them to the grave. No real justice, because you can't bring murdered children back. No real reward. Because the children that are kidnapped and never found don't get a grave to mourn at.



Then destiny stepped in. 

I remember the very moment when it all changed for me, and it was in the late eighties. I was sitting in the courtroom with two homicide detectives I knew. A young man was on trial for killing his girlfriend's young child. 


When the jury came back and the judge read what was handed to him, the sentence was the death penalty. I found myself jumping up with the two detectives and feeling elated. Score one for the good guys and all that jazz. But this was not a football game and no one had scored a touchdown.


And at that moment, my gaze drifted over to the young man. His face was blanched white with shock. Then I looked just behind him at his parents, who were sobbing. And I realized something profound in those few moments. 

Life and death is part of life. But I couldn't continue to immerse myself in these horrific crimes and stay intact.

This was not how I wanted to look at life. At the end of the day, I did not want the smell of autopsy rooms lingering on my clothing, or look at photos of dead people. Burned people. Dead children.

I don't recall the young man's name in that courtroom all those years ago, and he would be gray by now or he's already been executed. But I can tell you it changed everything I thought I wanted. At that very moment. 


I don't think I said much of anything to the two guys. I just got up and walked out of that courtroom. It was late in the day. I recall walking to my car, my head just full of testimony and facts and what had been done to that small child. Like a kaleidoscope that just keeps turning. 


That was my last article. Ironically enough, there had just been a feature written on me and some of the things I had done in a regional newspaper. My photo was on the front page. I had been so proud of that. And now, it really meant nothing to me. I just wanted it all to go away.


I knew deep within me, with my tendency to feel things so deeply, that it was going to get the best of me before long anyway. The dead and kidnapped kids and what their rooms looked like and what they did on their last day...those very things were going to visit me in my dreams and it was eventually going to do me in.


I moved to another state, remarried, and started gardening and quilting. Now that's about as opposite as you can get from what I'd been doing. I was alone with my thoughts a lot. I reflected. I watched the birds. I became enamored of nature. 


And I made myself think about why I was doing what I had chosen to do back then. The answer came quickly. I was trying to grow so accustomed to the ugly and bad things in life that nothing could hurt me anymore. 

That meant that I had to face the fact that I had some serious problems. That most people have memories about things that I didn't have. And there had to be a reason for that. 

And here I am. Two divorces later. 


If I could have changed things, I know there are roads I went down that I now wish I'd taken the road less traveled instead of doing the obvious. 

Which, back then, was to graduate high school and find a man to marry and have children.

Maybe I should have been a nature photographer. Traveling around the world to remote areas where it was just my thoughts and my camera and what I found in the wild regions to focus my camera on. 


I think I would have been good at that. I think I would have "found myself" sooner. Learned how to be alone instead of thinking I had to be with a man or I wouldn't be happy. For three marriages to three very different men did not make me happy.


That's where I wish things had veered in another direction. 


Okay, after my long story, what would you change? Maybe. Or maybe not. Just dream a little dream. No judgment here. 


And I don't want to read what I figure I'm about to if I don't say something. Like: I would have married my best friend who I'm married to now and lived happily ever after. That's too easy.


Put that aside and do some deep thinking. It doesn't mean you would have done it different, or not loved him, or not had your children. 


Just put yourself in your young shoes and delve into what you might have done different. It's just a day of pretend. 

Go back in time and just let your thoughts flow without trying to rein them in. Give us food for thought. Make it as long or as short as you choose. It's your platform.







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94 comments:

  1. Sorry. Posted this on yesterday's post. I keep forgetting!

    If I could go back to "18"...Mmmm...I don't think I would change much if anything. All the highs, lows, failures, achievements, heartaches, and joys, have made me the person I am now. I might would have liked being a Hippie or not breaking both big toes(at the same time), but honestly, I can't say there is anything that I would have done differently...mainly because I've never been "normal", anyhow! LoL

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    1. Yeah, I kind of missed that hippie era too. Was just a tiny bit too young, as you were. Don't think I'd have liked living in a commune though...

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  2. Perhaps I would have chose a different profession instead of the one I have dedicated the last 35 years to, only to see it being used as a stereotype by advertisers, writers and one of my favorite bloggers. I am a librarian. It crushes my soul a little bit every time I see or hear "librarian" used in a negative way.

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    1. Well, I have officially stuck my first foot of the day firmly into my mouth. I think highly of librarians. During my changes in college majors, I actually thought about going into library science, and becoming a librarian. Because of my love of books. I apologize if it sounded like I wasn't thinking of them in a high regard. Because I look at both librarians and school teachers as the best mentors of children that there is. I didn't mean it to be negative. I was just contemplating on what I considered going into. And I guess it came out the wrong way. Please forgive me if I hurt your feelings.

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    2. Debra is right about the librarian stereotype being used often as a joke. I am a librarian too, but I took your comment to mean that you would love the job. I love my job as librarian, however many people think that its a stress free job where we get to sit and read books all day. They don't know that we have a Masters in Library Science and that we are educated professionals. I won't go in to the whole "what its like working with the general public" tirade I often do with my closest friends, but I will say next time you see your local librarian and all the other people who work in the library with her or him tell them thank you :) because now you know...
      I love your blog Brenda!
      Clara from Redeemed Junk and Stuff

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  3. Well, this does open a big opportunity to express 'what might have been'. I would have left my boyfriend of the time, who I eventually married and divorced. That's a pretty easy decision--now! But there was a path, for a brief moment that I sometimes wonder what would have happened. A high school friend, male, asked me to go to college with him in northern California. It was kind of surprising, because I had a boyfriend and already had different college plans. Who knows what could have been different? I also wish I had decided to study art in college, as that became my passion later. Great topic! I hope people open up and let themselves dream.

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    1. I do hope they open up. This is part of everyone's story really. What they might have done if circumstances had been different. I think a lot of people might change the career path they ultimately chose.

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  4. Brenda while I knew some of this I did not know about the awards or the details of your work back then...what an amazing post!

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    1. Oh, my life has been a series of stories somehow...

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  5. Brenda...I've never heard the details of this part of your life. I can see bits and pieces of the puzzle a little better now. And congratulations on the writing awards, if you ever decide to publish anything freelance, you have that on your resume!

    I've never really thought about this question too much because everything seems to have led me to this life that I have and I wouldn't trade it for anything. But...if I could change some things, I wouldn't have been so anxious to move out of my parents home, just weeks after H.S. graduation. I blew off going to college thinking I needed a year long break from school. I was out in the working world and in my quest for independence, struggled to make apartment rent, a car payment and was stuck in a job I never wanted because I had to make a living. So...it would have been college, a career, life on my own and then who knows what. Definitely children, I didn't always know that but I do now!! If anything, the way my life changed at 18 made me learn to be responsible, never hasty in decisions, hard working with work values. I learned to take care of myself, no one else was, and I took pride in that. :)

    XO,
    Jane

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    1. Don't we think we know everything when we're that age? And then we have children and they think the same thing and you can't tell them different!

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  6. I have had to read through this several times, just to absorb your incredible background Brenda! I knew you had been a writer for the newspaper but had no idea just how vast your experience or how deep your commitment was. It takes a really special person to do that kind of work! I'm awed by your story. Thinking about how different things might have been is a bit of a reach for me, I don't really have anything to contribute there. I guess mine is more a case of being glad I made the decisions that were good instead of the ones that were very close to being bad! When I came to Texas I was with a guy I did NOT need to be with. He was lots of fun but not very ethical, which I learned the hard way. So I'm pretty happy that I didn't go that route. I think I might have done anything to get out of south Florida though, so I'm glad that I ended up here! The road has been hard traveled at times but every challenge has led us exactly where we needed to be. But you know me, I always think that way. Anyway, great topic, and I'm so glad to read your fascinating story! xoxo, Andrea

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    1. I guess some of us don't have the "stories" because we took the road that was the right one and know it. But then there are those of us, me included, that went through a series of life blunders. Don't know if it's luck or karma or just happened to be in that place at that time.

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  7. Well, I have had a little bit of a up and down life...looking at it through my Libra mindset, it has been bad, yet good...unlucky yet lucky....I will first mention something that I have thought about all my life. The person who looks out through my eyes, is not the person who I see in the mirror. I am now a middle age, overweight woman with short brown hair. the person who is looking out from my eyes, is a tall, blond, thin, athletic, whisp of a woman. I believe this is the adult version of myself, as I have a pic of my self as a thin, skinny, all elbows and knees girl of about 7. I had a trauma when I was about that age, and I believe that is when my life changed, my apperance changed.
    Now for my day dream....I simply would take many different key moments from my life, and like to see how the path of my life would have changed if they had gone differently....for instance....my parents both died when I was very young, and I was raised by my grandparents...so, what if they had lived? My husband got cold feet about 2 weeks before our wedding, but we got married anyway....then 35 years of rocky marriage later, we divorced...and also....I sold my farm and moved to another state, after 20 years of marriage, what if I had not, and gotten my divorce then, like my husband wanted....So, you see, I wonder what if....a lot....we are ruled for good or bad by the choices we make.....

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    1. And SO many times, the choices we make are based on our childhood experiences. The first three years of life are crucial for some developmental processes. The first five pretty much have us poured in concrete. Or that's what I read last night anyway.

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    2. That makes perfect sense! I have very little true memories of life before about 7-8...My Mother died when I was two, and my Father when I was 4.

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    3. Me either. My childhood is just one big blur.

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  8. I have been pretty lucky, just stumbling into this great life that I have. But, when I was 19 a friend wanted me to move to another town in the Northwest, a kind of cowboy resort place, not Jackson Hole. My folks had made a job for me, and I felt I could not leave them in the lurch, so I stayed at home. Moving away would have completely changed everything, I had no family there, and only knew one person. There were lots of jobs there for unskilled, Western type people, and it would have been fun. Being at home wasn't fun, just comfortable and I was always the dutiful daughter. Husband and I were the ones taking care of parents and inlaws. I gave up a job to take care of my father in law, in his last 2 years.We farmed and did for our family. We did not have a vacation for over 25 years. Just worked. It wasn't until I was in my late 50's that husband and I felt that we could go do something for us. For a couple of years we just ran around and did what we wanted, not what our parents, and our kids wanted or needed. My mother wasn't happy with us, but she was a person who had always done just exactly what she wanted, and she did get over it, when I sent her pictures of our cow camps, and husband riding over the plains on his horse. I would have liked to have been a decorator, but in the late 60's it really wan't an option. In high school I loved library, and had I been able to go to college, it would have been to study library science. Both of those choices would have meant moving away from our little valley. Any of those options would have totally changed everything. Of the kids in my grade school class, all 12 of us, only 3 live here, some live in the next little town, but there really is no opportunity here except for farming or logging. Some things never change.

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    1. Sounds to me like you did, always, for your family. But then came around to the time when you made time for yourselves. Taking care of family is to be commended, because so many run for the hills.

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  10. So far, I think I would have not changed my major in college and just finished with a teaching degree. Psychology was more interesting to study, so I changed and it really doesn't offer a host of options for making a living, unless you go further with more degrees. I am actually glad that I have never married. I look back at a few of my choices there and think "someone was watching over me" and saved me from what I thought I wanted then. Sometimes I wish I would have had a child, but my pets actually fill that place now, so I'm good with no human kids either. Not much in regrets for me at this stage in my life.

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    1. Well, that person watching over you did not tap me on the shoulder. If I could have gone into an auditorium full of men, I probably would have, each time, managed to walk out with the worst one. I think childhood experiences, and whether you have a father or father figure, or maybe just plain karma, determines your choice of men.

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  11. Brenda, you have so many wonderful talents. After reading this, I can see you. I have some regrets. Husband #1. I should have never married him. I was 28. I was not in love with him. I was in love with the idea of marriage. I didnt much care for him telling me I could not have a dog. One day, I brought home a pure bred Cocker Spaniel puppy. That was it. The end. I should have finished college. I love children. I was working as a pre-school teacher making next to nothing at age19. I loved every minute of it. But college I did not like. I should have been a third grade teacher. That was what I wanted to do. But at age 20 I took a government test, passed with high scores and hired within two weeks. Almost 28 years later, I am still here. Do I love it? No. Do I like it? Yes. Husband #2. I was very much in love and he was so handsome. I was 35. There were so many signs prior to marriage, I ignored them all. I stayed too long in an abusive marriage and I could kick myself over and over again for not leaving sooner. My therapist told me not to look back, to look forward and never daydream about the goodtimes. I do daydream of children. I never had any. I suppose it was never in the stars. But if I did have a child, would that child love me? Of course. But would that child as an adult love me and want to see me and go shopping on birthdays and want to do big holidays with me? I know alot of adult children who are assholes to their parents. I will never know. I still have big dreams. Retiring, leaving California, moving to Tennessee, growing the biggest garden ever, volunteering as a teacher's aide and rescuing a couple more dogs. And husband #3 is never in my dreams.

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    1. Well, I'm no better in that department. I never understood the signs. But it wasn't until the third marriage that I understood true fear. I know I'll probably be slammed for this truth, but I don't know that I'd have had children. It has nothing to do with what has occurred in the last two and a half years. I just don't think I had the capacity to be the mother they deserved. I made poor choices. So I guess I can't blame them now for not wanting a relationship with me. So I wish they could have had different parents altogether. For their sake. I am one of those people who soaks up guilt like French bread soaks up olive oil. I do know that I will never so much as look at a man again. I DO know that.

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    2. I watched a show on poverty in Canada once years ago. They were profiling a single mom of 2. She told the reporter in front of her kids that if she could go back she would not have had children. Her young daughter(who was celebrating her birthday was clearly hurt by this admission. I sat there thinking what a jerk she was to say such a thing. She then went on to explain how she never would have wanted to raise children in poverty and sadness. Sitting in my comfy home I suddenly felt so heartbroken for this woman. I felt convicted for having judged her, not having walked in her shoes. Indeed it took courage to admit that she would not have had children. Not because she did not love them, but because she did.

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  12. I wish I hadn't gotten married so soon. We were married for 17 years and had 5 children, and I wouldn't give that up for anything, but after the marraige ended I married a man I should never have married. My children suffered because of it. I wish I had been a better Mom. Read to them more, talked and listened more, prayed with them more, been more involved in their school and lives. Oh gosh, it breaks my heart now when I look back and see all the missed opportunities. Now I live alone, me and my dog and cat. Been alone a long time. I'm comfortable with that. I don't have the trust in people that I used to. To much abuse. I am so, so grateful for my children and their love for me, their mother. I have wonderful grandchildren, and wonderful parents in their 90's that I fear will end soon when they pass on. I wish so much I was more adventurous and confident in myself to travel alone and take pictures. Move out of the desert and live by the sea like I crave to do. I just shake my head and wish I was braver.

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    1. That was beautifully written, and I could tell straight from your heart. I feel the exact same way, so you are not alone. I look back and wish my children had been the most important thing in my life, and I was so busy with other pursuits, they lacked what I know I should have given them. I'll never forgive myself for that. And I imagine I'll be alone till the day I die, with pupsters or kitties. And that will be my family. I want to cry just rereading your words.

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    2. You are correct, Brenda, this is beautifully written! I think wish we could have been a better parent, friend, partner...it seems to be a lesson I learned late in life, and am doing all I can to fix!
      I can SO relate to needing the courage to step out of my little world! I am single, with no ties, and I could go anywhere, and get a job, and a new life....but....I don't want to leave my dear friends, and move where I know no one!

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  13. Ok - fantasy here: If I could change my fate/destiny, I would have been Amish. I have always wanted to be an organic farmer, with a large brood of kids and living in a close-knit community such as they do. I am also German descent so I would have fit right in. My mother was not Amish but she gardened, sewed our clothes, cooked from scratch and was cleaner than clean. So I grew up with a similar lifestyle but instead it was in Queens, New York instead of a farm in Pennsylvania. I have always admired their lifestyle, horse and buggies instead of cars, helping each other out, huge families. This is not something in reality I could really choose once I was grown, but I do wish I would have been born into it.

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    1. You know, I have thought the same thing! Their lives seem so much simpler in many ways.

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  14. First of all I am so thankful that I do not have to go back to being 18 again, and in hindsight there are definitely things I would like to change. I made a lot of mistakes, but I also learned a lot from those mistakes. If there is one thing I would change it would be that I left my husband a whole lot sooner and that I followed my heart more. Now I just look forward. xo Laura

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    1. I think I followed my heart and it led me straight to train wrecks!

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  15. Such interesting stories from everyone! And now I come along and say, after much thinking, I wouldn't change any of the happenings in my life. I mean, I dropped out of college and married at 19 (and never considered returning to school). Thirty-five years later we're still happily together. Our daughter is 34 and I wouldn't have missed out on motherhood for the world. In 1993 we moved from Nevada to New York state and that was one of the best choices *ever.* We bought a farm when I was 49 and stayed only 3 years, but it was never meant to be forever and we just wanted to live out an old dream before we got too old. It was one of those "best of times, worst of times' things, but I'd never have missed that, either. It birthed a new freedom from wanting the country life and now we've moved-on in joy and acceptance in the suburbs.

    Yet come to think of it, there are things about myself I would have changed. I wish I'd been more patient with people when I was younger, a better listener, and less impatient in waiting for things I wanted. I should have laughed more and worried less (hmm... didn't I read that somewhere?) not been so concerned about what others think and been relaxed more, letting my faith in God keep my heart steady. Fortunately, God is showing me how to make all of those things more real, more solid in my life. And I am so grateful for that and for His love.

    Your awards sounded very cool, indeed! And I enjoyed getting to know you better. Blessings, Debra

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    1. Sounds like you've thrived in life from looking at the proverbial glass half full rather than half empty.

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  16. I have two beautiful daughters and three wonderful grand children, I am so thankful.. I wish I would of known then how fast the time would fly by. I remember being so tired with work and taking care of my home, if only I knew dirty dishes and dusty furniture really made no difference. I wish I would of spent more time with the people who really mattered. Hugs Pat

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    1. They always say something like: It won't have how many days you didn't miss work on your grave marker. When we're young, we don't really expect to get old, I don't think. It seems so far away then.

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  17. At 18 I would have not gone to visit my dad that summer and help him move. I gave up a scholarship to go to cosmetology school that summer to help him out and gave up having a trade. Neither parent would help pay for my education, I tried to do it on my own but I could not afford, school, study, work and live on my own. If I lived at home I still had to pay rent and my mother and I had issues.

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    1. Sounds like you were a better parent than either of the ones you had.

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  18. Hi, Miss Brenda! Your story is absolutely amazing! Compelling, really! I'm so glad you shared your story. This is an interesting topic for "Java Talk" and, for me, perfect timing, too.

    My father died on my 18th birthday. His funeral was on Father's Day. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer that February and was given 4-6 months. At the time, I was a Senior in high school and applying for colleges, but after receiving my father's prognosis, I knew immediately college was out of the question. I was still the only child at home. My siblings were much older than me, had their own lives and families. They helped out when they could, but I knew helping our mother to provide our father with care and comfort would fall upon my shoulders, which it did. No prom. No going off with my friends on Spring break. No more anything involving high school activities. My mother even hired a nurse to stay with my father so we could both attend my high school graduation. After my father died, I could have applied for college, but my mother was absolutely devastated when my father passed away, there was just no way I could leave her alone by herself. It would have been cruel. So I stayed on with her until I was 21, when I got married.

    So what would I change if I could go back to 18? I'd wish my father a long, happy, healthy life with the woman he loved more than anything else in this world. I would have applied for college in the hopes I would be accepted into the University of Georgia, and majored in psychology (they have a great psychology program there). Still, I have no regrets. I did what I think my father would have wanted and that was for me to take care of his wife during her hour of grief. And, even though my marriage was a disaster, had things been different, I never would have met my ex and I wouldn't have been blessed with two beautiful children, so everything worked out. Besides, I live about 7 miles from the University of Georgia now, and everyone, including my children and my psychologist, has been urging me to apply at UGA, so going to my preferred college is not out of the question. I probably would have applied by now, if only I could get past the whole, "I'm too old to go to school now." Logically, I know I'm being an idiot, but perhaps one day I'll get over myself and turn my dreams into reality. We'll see.

    (sorry this was long)

    Carol

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    1. Don't worry about long. Did you notice how LONG mine was??? I think you would have had regrets if you had left her then. Yet you compromised your dreams. Don't let them go. You're never too old to go back. I didn't finally finish my degree until I was 42. And I started out at 18! But I had so many medical problems I kept having to drop classes. My back was really bad and there would be classes upstairs and no elevator. That kind of thing. Anyway, it's time to dream a little dream. Make yours come true. You made your mother and father proud. Now make yourself proud as well.

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    2. Carol,
      You are not too old to have your dream. Enroll in school. My mother encouraged me to go for it when she was dying and I was taking care of her. I had 5 children, was separated and I was 47 years old! I have my Masters in Library and Information Science now and my dream job! If you need anyone to talk to about the experience you can email me.
      Clara

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  19. This may sound really trivial, but here's the story. I married my HS sweetheart, the young man I'd known since I was 12 when I was 17. He was stationed in the Navy in Washington, and we lived on Whidbey Island for several years, then divorced, and I lived in Seattle proper. During the marraige we were young and broke, but we roamed all over that island and part of Canada. I learned to love that country so much. Due to a career change I wound up in NY, then LA, and I have stayed here in the LA area since 71. I sometimes wonder what would have happened had I returned to the Seattle area. I've always said I left a piece of my heart up there. I would not have met the husband I have now, nor have been able to become the mother to my beautiful daughter. So, I think we are exactly where we are meant to be, even though life takes us down many roads, some pretty bumpy, other smooth as can be.

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    1. Well Annette, you and your daughter could always move to the Seattle area someday. I know you have things that are tying you down now. But if you really left a piece of your heart there, you need to go back and retrieve it.

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    2. Seattle won't be a possibility due to medical insurance, mine isn't available up there and I'm not willing to part with it due to major back surgery. We haven't ruled out the Portland area though!

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  20. After much thought, I wish I had never broken up with my high school boyfriend. I felt he was a 'loser', with no future. But, today he is a very wealthy man, who shares his good fortune with others. After me, he began dating and married a co-worker of my mom's. They are still married, while I have been divorced three times from horrible men. With him, I might have lived a less traumatic life. With his money, I could have opened a shelter for abused women. And donated large amounts of money to various charities, like he does now.

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    1. Well, I look back and can't even think of who I should have married. So you've got one leg up on me! It's so admirable that you want to open a shelter for abused women. You know what I would like to do? Abused women often won't leave the abuser because they won't let them bring their pets to the shelter. I'd build a place for the pets so the women could go ahead and leave without worrying about the pets. It is known that men will go after the pets to get to the women, and now vets are trained to watch for abuse in animals for just that reason.

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    2. Brenda, I LOVE it!!!! To some of us, our pets are almost like breathing! When I got divorced, I told my husband that my Bella dog was the one thing he foe sure, would never get!!!! For single women like me (and tons of other people) our pets are simply family!!!!! I saw this the other day, and it is perfect for Bella and I....."Life begins at 5:01"!!!!!!!!!

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  21. There's an old cottage I used to drive past every day. Actually it was two cottages, joined together. They were up for sale for years. I didn't think I was earning enough to commit to a mortgage. (I later learnt I was)
    Then the price of property rocketed in the UK. If I had had the guts to buy the cottages, I could have done one up, and sold the other still derelict for many times what both of them were up for sale for. I would have had no mortgage and a secure home.
    The new owners combined the two cottages into one, and sold it for 20 times what they bought it for.
    I have always had a feeling of insecurity about my private rented home. I can't do the big improvements it needs, like proper heating and new windows. I'm not allowed to keep a dog. I'm at the age where a mortgage could have been paid off, and I should be looking to a secure future as I move towards the last decade of my working life.
    I worry about my future here. Where will I be when my elderly landlady dies.
    But I am lucky to live where I do, surrounded by beautiful countryside.

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    1. I worry too because I rent. What if something happens, I worry, and I can't pay the rent? I think back to when I handed back my first husband the house because I wanted to make sure he used what he got for it to pay for my childrens' college. That was a mistake. I should have kept the house. Their grandmother would have made sure they went to college and did. And before she died, it was her, my mother in law, who scolded me for giving it back to him. She said once a woman acquires property, she should never give it up. Smart lady. I miss her.

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  22. I have thought about this topic often and am so glad that you posed the question, Brenda. There are many things I would have done differently and like you, I seem to have a problem with guilt. You see, I am the product of an alcoholic father and now my son is following that path as well. Things I wish I could have done better are listening, accepting, and loving myself so that I could have been a better mom. I realize that I did the best I could with the tools I had and in many ways I was an excellent mom. But if I could have had the wisdom I now have...who knows if it would have changed my son's course or not? Also, I would have waited to marry until I had had the chance to find out more about myself first. I would also have chosen a different college major (Journalism or Graphic Design instead of Interior Design) and I would have gone on to complete a Master's degree as well. At any rate, I have an amazing relationship with my daughter, and I am learning to fill the holes in myself and trying to look for the positives. Bless you, Brenda, for this honest blog :)

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  23. Bless you for being honest! You need to remember that alcoholism as well as drug addiction is something you can't possibly keep from happening. Susceptibility to abuse of either one could be an acquired gene, or one brought on by environmental factors. You could not have made him drink and you could not have stopped him. Only he can do that. My ex was a functioning alcoholic and made my life hell. Of course he blacked out and never remembered what he did. But I will never forget. Forgive yourself because you're blaming yourself for something you couldn't possibly have stopped from happening. Let it go so you can move on. He has to shoulder this blame, not you.

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  24. Brenda,
    You are amazing. You've done quite a lot in your life. Thank you for sharing with us and showing us how it is possible to remake your life.
    I married young to get out of my family house. Bad choice. We played at being adults for a few years until it didn't work anymore. By then, my self esteem was at an all time low and I met my second husband. Of course, when that happens it is never good. I stayed in an abusive marriage for 9 years. I had 3 boys with this man. I have never known anyone who has gone through a divorce that has experienced the evil that I did. The court system was totally useless and did not care about listening to the truth. I lost 2 of my 3 boys and my faith in our court system. I still have no contact with the 2 boys, now men because he moved them away and he cut off all communication. Would I do that again. I love my boys, but they have been through hell, I have been through hell. I can not say that I would ever want that man in my life again knowing what I know now.
    I was a little more successful with my next marriage if neglect is any better than abuse. I had two daughters and raised them as a single parent. He was not involved in our lives at all. I think we used each other because I wanted a family and he wanted it to look like he had a family, but not put in any effort. It "worked" for 17 years, but about year 12 and years of whining about going to a counselor I went back to college and finished my Bachelors. I went on to get my Master's in Library and Information Science. We divorced about a year after that. I am divorced now. I have two wonderful daughters and my dream job as a librarian. If I had to go through that to get where I am, I would. Nothing is perfect, but I would tell anyone starting out in life to do go for the dream. You CAN do it. Yes, I have student loans, but I my house is safe, I make my own decisions and I go to a job every day that I love.
    Thanks for the dream Brenda.

    Clara from Redeemed Junk and Stuff

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    1. I first want to say that I have the highest esteem for librarians. They gave me a haven in my young life. I read voraciously. I say if you can read, you can do anything. We can't do anything about what happened before. I know I beat myself up about it all the time, and I also know it does no good. But it creeps into my thoughts. Mine was more emotional abuse. He was a psychiatrist. He was good at brainwashing. And I just wanted to hear "I love you." I didn't understand that obsession is not love. Not until it was too late and I had more to contend with than I had before him. He told me I couldn't make it without a man. That I would end up a whore on the street because I didn't know how to take care of myself. Well, we have been divorced three years in August. There have been some real hard times. But I'm still here. When I left, I was so afraid he was right. But I'm still here.

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    3. Brenda,
      My ex wasn't a psychologist, but was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (before that was a catch all diagnosis). I heard those same things! I wonder if they hand out a handbook to abusive men? Sheesh! I read the comment from the librarian above. I wasn't offended by your comment. I took it to mean that you would love the job. I know you love to read, I'm in your book club :) I love you blog and I wish we were closer so we could have coffee like you and Judy. We would click, I'm sure.
      Take care.
      Clara

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  25. I would not have done a thing different. I was so loved starved... I wanted to get married and have a baby and live happily ever after!! Second marriage.... same thing but no baby. Now too tired and old and worn out.... one foot in the grave.

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    1. We thought that was the magical answer back then. Too bad it wasn't.

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  26. Wow, are we women something, or what? We live, we love, we fail, we struggle, but damn it, we learn and we keep trying to do better. It makes me so proud! So many of us were wounded as children, but we've tried to overcome that, and to figure out how to move forward. I mostly wish I had taken better care of myself and not always tried to care for everyone else.

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    1. Yea, I was guilty of doing that until I turned 50. I decided then it was time to take care of myself, and stop worrying over everyone else's needs above mine. Maybe it is a rite of passage. I love your second sentence! It is empowering.

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  27. Honestly I would not want to change one bit of my life...I knew growing up what to look for in a man..just the opposite of what my dad was...so I did just that,,,I met and fell in love with the love of my life and could NEVER ask for a better husband..has always treated me like a queen and still does...we had one daughter together and she has given us 5 grandchildren...I love my life and have NO regrets nor would I ever want to change a thing...:-)

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    1. Then you're one very wise and lucky woman! You need to teach some of us how it's done.

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    2. forgot to mention I also prayed to God every day to bring me a good man to love me and he was listening!everything I get in my ife I pray for..God always listens...try it is my advice! :-)

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    3. Carol, I also prayed. It was for God to keep me from entangling myself with the wrong man. Once, on my 30th birthday, I prayed for God to bring the right man if it was to be, at all. We were married before my 31st birthday and are still, 28 years later. Waiting was not always fun. We have both had to work to grow together. This is no fairy tale, but we are blessed.

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  28. Wow Brenda, I did not know about your writing career. You ask a very loaded question! ;) My mom was diagnosed with Parkinson's about two years ago and went downhill fast. We moved her out of her home, to assisted living, my sister's home and finally the nursing home, in very short order. There were many, many hospital stays in between each move. She is unable to move or care for herself at all and requires so much medical care, but she is unhappy in the nursing home. Of course, we, as a family, are too. I wish that I could've seen what was happening clearer at the time. It was such a whirlwind, but I would've fought harder to keep her home~ to make it work somehow, some way...I regret that every single day.

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    1. It's extremely hard to live your life with regret every single day. If you can make changes, attempt to do so. If it is not in your mother's best interests to do that at this time, then you will have to somehow find a way to "parole" yourself from this sentence you've given yourself. You can't predict the future, or what might have happened had you intervened. Sounds like she needs round the clock medical care. Take that into account as you work through this and what you could or could not have done.

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    2. Those are some very sobering words, Brenda. I know in my head she needs a hospital facility. It's my heart that is in denial. I keep reading "sentence" and "parole" over and over. The words are sensible and poetic at the same time...the resonate. I am sending your response to my siblings. Perhaps yours are the words that will help us find some clarity and peace. Thank you.

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  29. First time visitor . . . I love visiting a blog and be grabbed in the first few sentences . . . Enmeshed in the journey and thinking of my own . . . Loved reading you . . .

    What would I have done differently . Looking back I wish I would have thought for myself more instead of thinking I will do this because of my parents, friends, acquaintances . . . I wonder what path it would have been then . . .

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    1. Women tend to do that. I think girls are indoctrinated at an early age to do what is expected of them. And boys are indoctrinated to think more about themselves. I don't know how or why that came about. But it seems to be a fact of life.

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  30. This is fantasy right? I wish I had been given different parents. I never knew what it felt like to feel love from my parents, they were both unfit to have children. I think the first time they "gave me to my grandparents" I was about 2. Then they came back and got me when I was 4. When I was about 6 my mother left my dad because he was abusive, but she left me with him. He did not really want me, so back to my grandparents I went. And that is how my whole childhood was, my grandparents would get tired of me and give me back to him, he would get tired of me and give me back to them. I was a boomerang. I can't remember ever having someplace that I called "my home", it was my daddy's house or my grandparents house... My mother was never in my life after she left, I may have rec 2 phone calls and a couple of letters. But when I was 13 I rode a bus (all by myself) across country to see her, I think I was there for 2 weeks. Anyway I really think I would have been much better off if I had just had different parents...lol

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    1. Sounds like you are positively right. Mine sold me to pay back rent when I was six weeks old. I ended up with my maternal great-grandmother who was too old to care for me. And a maternal grandmother living there that had brain damage and possibly mental illness. People don't think children can be depressed. I took a bunch of pills in grade school. Think I was 6 or 7. What I wish would have happened? That I'd been adopted out at 6 weeks of age. My great-grandmother died just as I turned 13, so I didn't have much of anyone after that. What people do to children, in their own pathetic self-interests, is tragic.

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    2. I have never used my childhood as an excuse but can certainly see how it shapes our lives. I learned at an early age that humor was my saving grace, so I tried to find the humor in everything that happened and have continued that though out my life. I do not remember being depressed so maybe my subconscious kept me looking on the bright side of things. I give thanks for my grandparents, as fractured as the care that I got from them was, it still was better than what might have been had they not been there. But the older I get (late 50's now) I find myself wondering how different my life might have been if I had recieved a nurturing childhood and had that feelin of being loved and wanted.

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  31. Back in the day, when I was going to college. I wish I had pursued something in the medical field. I wish I had applied myself more. I wish I could have been a doctor or a nurse practitioner if my grades were not good enough. I chose Fashion Buying and Design. Why did I choose that degree? I mostly chose it because I doubted myself intellectually but I do also have interest there. I ended up in Social Work and eventually pursued that all the way through to my Masters. In the latter years of my schooling I realized that I probably could have done what I wanted to do, to begin with. It wasn't intelligence that I lacked, it was the application of myself. I worked in the medical end of social work for many years, eventually becoming a bit burnt out. I had my children later in life and my husband gave me the wonderful opportunity to be home with my kids. I eventually found blogging and quilting. Besides my kids, it is my focus.

    Although my experience is not as extreme as yours, I truly understand not wanting to look at the armpit of humanity anymore.

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    1. Oh, I think you had to have seen, in the field of social work, a lot of tragedy. And it still resides with you. Hard to dispel it from your thoughts. I burned out, you burned out. At least we burned out and moved on.

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  32. Ha! I had almost forgotten I was going to be a nurse. That was my goal until I did some candy striping and found that the best nurses are very strong people. Intellectually, I know now, I would have made it. My spirit was bruised by the words of the nurses who were tough, perhaps because their strength was not enough. I highly respect good nurses. When I won a nursing scholarship, I was told, by someone who did NOT know, that I must use it right away. I wanted to go to Bible school, so I turned it down. I then learned that I could have postponed the scholarship for a year for any reason, and for 'religious training" for three years, the length of the entire course I took. I regretted that for years. I don't, now.

    I do regret the "small" things. I regret being unkind. I regret staying silent instead of expressing love. I regret those times when I should have asked questions but thought I already knew the answers. I guess the biggest regrets have come from those times. I also regret indulging myself, allowing my malaise become an excuse has turned into a lifestyle. There are times when rest is necessary. There are times I can do better.

    It's amazing to me how much people love me, when I know what a mess I am. :)

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    1. Isn't that tough, when people tell you the wrong thing and it changes the course of your life? When they didn't tell me how to properly wear the steel boot, they set me back, I know now, quite a ways. It took having to go for something else to an Urgent Care Clinic for them to tell me I wasn't wearing it properly, and that's why it wasn't tight and my foot just flopped around in it. I was angry, because hey, aren't they the surgeons and physical therapists and people who should have taken the time to tell me how to wear it? But you get over things and go on.

      Your second paragraph gave me pause, and I could feel your feelings coming right through them.

      I too regret when I've been unkind. Or lost my temper. Or stayed silent instead of expressing love. I too regret those times when I should have asked questions but thought I already knew the answers. So poignant. You wrote it beautifully.

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    2. Thank you, Brenda.

      It was tough, for a long time, when my guidance counselor gave me bad information. Two things came from it that I think of, now. I now seldom accept the first answer I get without checking. I didn't get locked into a profession for which I'm pretty sure I was not meant. :)
      In my ignorance, I wrote the reason for turning down the nursing scholarship as "going to school out of state." When ten full four year college scholarships were turned down, making it my turn to receive one, I was passed by. If I had written that I was going to Bible school, who knows where I would be now! What would I have studied? I didn't realise, until I was in my forties, that I may have been made to be a librarian. ;)

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  33. When I was 18 I started dating a guy three years older than me. He treated me like a Queen. Or so I thought. What he really wanted was someone to control. We got engaged when I was 20 but thankfully just a couple of months before the wedding we broke it off, but it wasn't quite over. For a couple of years we continued to see each other, on and off. One night as a favor to my best friend I went out with her and her husband and her husband's recently separated brother. She simply wanted me to teach him how to dance and get his mind off things. When I got home my 'boyfriend' was waiting for me. He wasn't happy. He threatened to harm the beautiful Persian cat he had given me a couple of years prior, then raped me. After that he spent the night and ceremoniously left the following morning, I went to work with a sore head and bruises and never told anyone except the friend I had been with that night. For some reason, the reality of what had happened didn't hit me until many years later.

    I married a man at the age of 29 who is anything BUT controlling. Sometimes I wish he would take control of situations better, but he has so many other qualities that I admire I just have learned to accept him for who he is.

    If I could go back to 18, I would have started college then instead of 23. I would have majored in something like graphic design (did that even exist?) which would have enabled me to live wherever I wanted and still work at something creative instead of psychology, which won't get you anywhere unless you get an advanced degree and have the patience to listen to people talk about their issues all the time, which I don't. I would have taken more chances, traveled more and explored more in my 20's.

    I would have had more than one child. I never really wanted children though. My daughter wasn't planned, but nevertheless I would have had two, maybe three. She never complained about being an only child until she was well into her late teens, and by then it was too late. Looking back, it must have been difficult for her because we do not have a close family, so not only did she not have any siblings,she didn't grow up with cousins or aunts/uncles, or even much love from any grandparents other than a little when she was young from my mother. (My father died before she was born, as did my husbands and his mother is not well mentally.)

    In reality, we are both strong, independent women. Probably two of the strongest I know of. But we have paid the price for that.

    Now that I'm 60, I fully intended to make this the best decade of my life and do some of the things now that I wished I had done in my 20's, Our daughter is getting married next week to her perfect match, and I think that as a parent when that happens we are free psychologically from 'taking care' of our children to a great extent. At least we should be. The fact that she lives on the other side of the world makes that easy.

    It's funny how you found your niche. You've combined your love of writing with all things that are pretty and nature inspired. Amazing times we live in. This would not have been possible up until fairly recently.

    xxx

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    1. You're right. I think of that often. That what I'm doing now, which I truly love, would not have been possible until recently.

      Doreen, I'm so sorry for what happened. I wrote in a comment above about men resorting to being violent with their spouse/girlfriend's pet to get to them. That is so awful. He not only raped your body, he raped your innocence and your trust. I hope karma tracked him down and paid him a visit. Sounds like you found the right one this time round.

      Do everything you wanted to do in your twenties. Travel, explore. The only limitations you have are within your grasp.

      Guess what? I never learned to dance.

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  34. I have enjoyed all these incredible stories. I can't even think right now exactly how far back I would change things. Probably the first thing would have been for my sister not to die a senseless death at age two and a half at the hands of incompetent people in a hospital. I was two months old, and it steered the entire course on which I was brought up. I will probably write my life story someday, but it is far too complicated to get into in this venue. The book I wrote about my mother a few years ago tells a sugar-coated sanitized version, but someday, I will write the whole truth. Just not today.

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    1. I'm so sorry about your young sister. I'm sure it changed something within your parents and thus, it surely affected you. I would love to hear your story someday.

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  35. Brenda, reading "the rest of your story" was fascinating! Every single person does truly have a story.
    I wish, in some ways, I had different parents as I grew up. We have no control over that, but my Dad was an alcoholic all of my life, and my Mom grew into one by the time I was about 18 years old. I felt I was always the peace-maker and walked on egg shells most of my life. When they were sober, things were good, but when they weren't it was pretty bleak. My goal was to be as different from them as I possibly could be. I went to college and married a great man and this month we celebrate 42 years together (and 2 kids).
    When I was 18, 2 guy friends stopped at our house and asked me to go with them for a few days to a great concert they had heard about that was to happen in New York. Of course I said "no" and missed being at Woodstock.
    I never had a weight problem until I was about 30, and OH, how I wish I had done something about it back then and stuck to it. I have lost weight a few times, but haven't successfully kept it off. I now have terrible knee problems. That is the one really big regret that I have because now that I am retired, I really don't do very much because of my knees.
    Knee surgery, because of my weight, is sadly not really not an option.
    I was one semester short of finishing my degree in Elem Ed (w/ a minor in Library Science) and after having our first child, just never went back.
    The "woulda/ coulda/ shoulda's" can really bring one down. I do have to be happy with what I do have. And I feel I DID manage to change my life from the one my parents had. My younger sister, however, did not. Life is all about choices we make every day. I am more conscious of those choices now because I know how much they do impact our lives, even as insignificant as they may seem at the time. "Youth is wasted on the young", as we all wish we knew then what we know now, I guess!! Great Java Talk, Brenda!!

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    1. Well, you know alcohol played a part in my divorce. I had not really dealt with it much until then. But boy, I will never forget what that is like, walking on eggshells. Being afraid when you hear the garage door mechanism start. It took me awhile to gather the courage, but I'm so glad I got out. So glad. A child should never have to pay for their parents' addictions. Yet they do each and every day.

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  36. Such an interesting post and comments, Brenda. I wanted to comment yesterday, but vertigo issues make me get off the computer before I was able.
    One of the things I would do over, if I could...or maybe I should say, could have...would have been to not wait so many years to stand up for myself and not let people walk over me. My dad was a very controlling man and very gruff spoken and I was probably in my forties before I was able to speak up and tell him that I wasn't going to allow him to talk to me that way. He sometimes treated me as if I were a complete imbecile if I didn't agree with him on everything. It was always "his way or the highway". Also, something happened in my early childhood that transformed me from this little happy-go-lucky girl to a scared-of-my-own-shadow girl. I have wracked my brain trying to figure out what it was, but my memory won't allow it to come to the surface. I'm just sure something happened to have turned me into such a quivering little mess. Oh, I was happy enough when I was by myself or riding my horse, etc, but with other people, particularly adults, I was a quivering little scared rabbit. That took me well into adulthood to get over. I'm still introverted, but I now can stand up for myself if the occasion calls for it, I'm not so easily intimidated any longer. So, if I could do all that over, I would in a heartbeat because it was a miserable way to live and I feel so many years were wasted because of it.

    All that said, the biggest thing I would change if I could - and I couldn't have, I know - would have been for my mother and my 2 brothers not to have had ALS that took them far too early and then having to have lived with the fear of getting it myself or my children. I'm sure many of your readers can relate to this in perhaps other ways.

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    1. Like you, I have something simmering in my brain somewhere that the child in me won't let surface. That is why I have the occasional dissociative episodes. As the doctor told me: "Your brain learned to take you from a traumatic situation when you were very young. The brain will continue to do that, because once learned it can't be unlearned." So they're rare, but really not scary for me anymore. I am thankful I have a brain that will lift me out of stress. And I feel removed and I become very calm. That to me is a blessing. I just don't know what sounds or sights or what sensory stimuli is going to trigger it.

      So you too have it in there and your brain is keeping it from surfacing. And you know, at our ages, it's just as well. I use to want to remember. Now I don't.

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  37. I loved reading your post. As always I enjoy visiting your blog. You are "real". Life is hard, and even harder for some. I didn't have the "story book" childhood, but I am ok with that. I lost my mother when I was 7 years old. It was hard. .but I was surrounded with loving grandparents, and my Dad was a sweetheart. But still there was a lot of childhood tears. I married when I was 18. I am a child of the 50's and 60's, all I ever wanted was to be a mother and wife. I had 4 children by the time I was 29. My husband and I were young. We were married for 25 years, when he died suddenly at 48. My world crumbled. I can not express the grief and heartache of going through losing him. It was hard to deal with my own grief let alone my children's. Long story short, I re-married 6 years later to a wonderful man, but he had demons, we were married for 8 years then divorced. I thought all marriages could be like my first husband, but they aren't. Another heartache to deal with. I too struggle with depression, panic disorders, and heartache. But I can say, I am a survivor. I was never made to deal with the stress of living my life alone. My regret is I never completed college. I always wanted to be a school teacher. I worked as a secretary making very little money. Somehow I have been able to live a fairly decent life on my meager earnings. I am now entering my retirement years. I am not prepared for that either. I don't do well with changes, and life is full of changes. I like reading your blog as you tell of the many changes you have had to go through. How you survive on a strict budget. I admire you. You are stronger than you give yourself credit. You are a survivor. I have found it is ok, to be alone. I is ok to prefer the loner life. For me now, it is cherishing the moment. Enjoying the everyday. Sometimes I have to stop looking at some blogs, because it seems they have it "all". And I question why couldn't I have it all. Well, I have come to realize, I do have it all. I am loved by my children and grandchildren, family and friends that I cherish and love. I struggle to find hope, but with great effort, I somehow find it. My life is not what I had planned, but I am doing the best I can. Because of my depression, and my sensitive nature, I try to surround myself with positive energy, I try to find the beauty in life. It is a daily struggle for me, but I keep trying. Brenda, thank you for sharing your life, your struggles, your feelings, and thoughts. And you keep moving forward. You are blessed. . .you are loved. Karie

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    1. Well, you know you guys are my family. You and the pupsters, so I thank you for your kind words. I find it hard to go to the blogs "who seem to have it all " too. But it isn't because I want what they have. It is because it seems so over the top to me. Yes, I was married once to a doctor and I had nice things. But I'm happier now without him making me a nervous wreck, and being poor. As long as I have enough to eat and can pay my bills and take care of the pupsters, I'm fine. I don't understand this constant buying some bloggers are immersed in. I don't think the majority of readers have all that stuff, and so I wonder how it makes the feel. Well, you just told me. I just think bloggers (and this is just my sole opinion) need to get off the "things" and put a little more reality into their blogs. Why hide behind all the "stuff?"

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  38. What an interesting post--you are a most interesting and talented woman. You have asked a question that I am sure everyone has thought about. For me I would change that part of me that quit my piano lessons. I had horses on the brain (and we boarded horses so I had plenty of horses to ride every day) I think I could have used the discipline that is needed to become proficient on the piano. Having my daughter at 18 is still one of the best things I ever did, so that stays. Getting married at 19 was not one of the best decisions ever, but at least it was not the worst. I think the worst decision was staying in this house after the divorce. I still feel I should have sold it and bought something different, something "mine", not "ours". Otherwise, with all of the ups and downs it contains, my life is not too bad.

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    1. Well, you could always take piano lessons now...

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  39. Hi Brenda! I'm out traveling but I popped in to see you and what a post! Okay, I'll play along too! I would have left the guy I was engaged to, everyone saw him for what he was but I was blinded by love. I would have held my tiny head up high and walked away. Then, my dream...I wanted to become a disk jockey. At the time there were no women disk jockeys around and I just knew I could do it. Now being from Alabama and then west Texas, I did have an accent. I knew it could be fixed as I would go to 'disk jockey school' and learn to talk in a disk jockey voice. Ever since I was a baby, I've loved music and felt I could use my passion for music and a little sense of humor work for me. Well, it didn't work out that way but I do wonder what would have happened if it had! :) Thank you for being so open with us ( I don't think I could do that ) and I'm so sorry for all of the heartache you've had, but you are certainly an inspiration to all of us.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

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    1. Do it, Shelia! Take your sweet little accent (which I adore by the way) and do a blogger's chitchat on the radio! I can definitely see this being a hit!

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  40. Brenda, you are such an amazing woman and your honesty is touching to so many. I too have had my share of heartache but find myself finally in a good place. Three marriages and none worked. Was it me? Did I pick wrong? I think maybe I wanted the romantic love and never found it. Still I am happy now with my life. If I could change things I would have finished college and not married so young the first time. I also would have left my last husband much sooner before his mood swings and alcoholism almost got me killed. This was a great topic and I have enjoyed reading
    everyone's thoughts.

    Linda

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    1. I think romantic love is what we're looking for and our common sense often goes to the wayside. We don't take note of the "clues" that things might not be what they seem, for we are "in love." Alcoholism is such a tragic addiction. Made my life miserable living with one for sure. Often we feel we can change them. We can't. We have to save ourselves before they take us down with them.

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  41. It's really hard to decide what I would do different knowing where I'm at now and that choice could make the outcome change. So I don't have an answer right now, but I'm thinking on it whether or not I type it out if I have an answer.

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  42. I would have done everything the same with the exception that I would have taken nursing in college instead of social work.

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