I’ve never been one to do things easily.
When I was in elementary school, my librarian couldn’t feed me enough books. I devoured them with a vengeance and enjoyed every minute of it.
During my high school years, I wasn’t satisfied to just attend school (with decent grades I might add). I had to be part of a touring choir group, spent hours on the yearbook staff, was the first to earn my driver’s license (because I was the eldest in my peer group), worked a part-time job at McDonald’s (best training ground to build a good work ethic if ever there was one), volunteered as a candy striper and at church, raised money, trained for and participated in a 500-mile cross-state bike tour, and hosted a foreign-exchange student from France during my senior year.
College years saw me pursuing a dream of becoming a veterinarian, writing and editing for the college newspaper, lots of late study nights and early morning science labs, working three part-time jobs while carrying a full load (and sometimes more than a full load) of credits, still thoroughly involved with music groups and volunteering for a local animal shelter.
Maybe I should chalk it up to my ancestral mix of German tenaciousness and Scotch-Irish spiritedness, sprinkled with a dash of French flair. I’ve been lucky enough to always have strong female role models to look up to in my life. Like my great-grandma Theresa Skelly, who ventured from Ireland to California as a child bride, was widowed in her 40s but somehow managed to find productive work in a turn-of-the-century world where women weren’t given many opportunities. My dad always describes “little grandma” as a spitfire. My other paternal great-grandma who after being widowed at a young age in Chicago also ventured to California with her five children and ended up marrying her sister’s foreman. And then there was my maternal great-grandmother Inez McCullagh who earned a college degree in the late 1800s (from St. Cloud State to be exact), was married to a doctor (who still made house calls) and taught in a one-room schoolhouse for years while raising four children of her own.
Or maybe it’s just that I’m pigheaded and when someone tells me I can’t, it just spurs me on to prove them wrong. After all, life is an adventure.
For some reason, the milestones in my life have always seemed to come in threes. At the ripe age of 25, I met and married my husband (and became a stepmother to my then 6-year-old stepdaughter), started the St. Joseph Newsleader, and bought, remodeled and moved into our first home.
As I headed into my third decade, I expanded my business to include publishing the Sartell Newsleader, headed up the MS Tram that came through St. Joseph that year and added my daughter by way of adoption to our growing family.
At 40, I bought, remodeled and moved into our office building, moved our whole household to St. Cloud (from Sauk Centre where I commuted from for the previous 12 years) and added my son through adoption. (Oh, and maybe I need to mention a fourth achievement when I climbed two-thirds of the way up Chichen Itza in Mexico on our 15th wedding anniversary. And by the way, I’m scared of heights.)
Now on the cusp of turning the big 5-0, my husband and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, the Newsleaders will celebrate 25 years in the community, my daughter starts her freshman year in college (at SCSU where, incidentally her great-great-grandmother graduated from) and my son is entering middle school. I can’t wait to see what new adventures await us all.
They say when you look back on your life, you usually only regret the things you haven’t done.
No, I’ve never been one to do things easily. But then where’s the fun in that?