I sit at breakfast in a hotel in Brussels looking out the window into a park. It’s overcast, windy and chilly out…a clear sign summer has past. I’m supposed to be on a bus to Luxembourg, but after a morning in a tour bus yesterday, where I fell asleep…I decided to skip today’s trip. I shouldn’t have come to Brussels. I did so out of an imaginary obligation to check it off my list. And quite frankly, this city deserves better than that. Instead, I should have gone back to the mountains or to the beach…a place where I could have begun to get rejuvenated…I feel drained and tired.
As I keep creeping my way closer to 40, I would prefer to turn a year older at a time when I feel full of zest and energy…that way, I can say I don’t feel my age, and mean it. Unfortunately, right now, I’m feeling the additional year.
It hasn’t quite been the kind of summer to remember I’d originally imagined. I’d planned for a summer full of adventures and outdoor escapades. A summer that was supposed to leave me with rosy cheeks, windblown hair, sun bathed skin, and a toned physique from all the biking, hiking, swimming and all sorts of other activities. It was a summer designed to leave me feeling alive! I had some those experiences (which I still need to write about), but work and life got in the way to my perfectly fantasized summer to commemorate the last of my time in Germany/Europe.
In late June, I found out my mom had brain cancer. It’s not something I want to write about just yet, but this event did lead to an unexpected trip to Canada to celebrate her 70th birthday. I don’t think she’ll make it another year, so I’m glad I was able to be there with her, my two brothers and their families and my stepdad, who is taking incredible care of her, to celebrate the occasion.
While in Canada, I received a call that crushed my heart to pieces. One of my Marines committed suicide. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to hear such horrible news and return back to such a dreadful new reality. The last couple of weeks were spent making sure his affairs were taken care of, caring for the other Marines, and planning his Remembrance Service. He will never be forgotten and I hope and pray I never lose anyone else to suicide ever again. A stark thing for me to say…as I have struggled for years with my own intents, until I let God into my life, which is something I’ll be writing about this upcoming year.
Meanwhile, the clock has been ticking, and my remaining days in Germany are dwindling down. This brings more heart breaks and saddens me greatly; Germany and Europe have been very good to me and for me. There’s however little time for grieving, as I have much to do in order to be ready to return to the States. It was inevitable for the toll of all the stress and emotions of the last few weeks to catch up to me and leave me feeling the way I do. I often forget I’m only human.
In the midst of all of this, I’ve also needed to spend some time thinking about my future and what my plans are for…if not the rest of my life, at least the next year.
The Next Year
Because I’m either crazy, selfish, or careless – all three, or none of those, my plan for the next year is to take the year off and focus mostly – entirely on writing. I have two stories I want to tell and hopefully complete, if not both, definitely at least one of them. One is nonfiction, based on my walk of faith, and the other is fiction, a Christian based romance novel. Neither of those books will write themselves without making writing them a priority.
I’m once more venturing out without much of a plan or safety net. It would be a lie to say it didn’t end well last time I took this kind of leap. Sure, as far as the world could see – it didn’t end well. I lost everything and found no success, but the events of my last go at following my heart into my entrepreneurial endeavors ended with me on my knees giving my life to Christ, which was the best thing to ever happen in my life.
In my fantasy world, 3-5 years from now, I’m Battalion Commander of 6th Communication Battalion, on the New York Bestsellers list, and pending a movie deal for one of my books. It’s what I’ve been day dreaming about lately. I’m not holding too tightly to this dream…it’s at God’s feet in case he wants to sweep it away for something else He has planned for me.
I understand the odds are stacked against me. I know I probably have even slimmer odds of making it as a writer, then I did making it as an entrepreneur, and I’ve been there, I know the tough, hard, difficult, and sucky road that likely awaits me – but I also know there are no other roads I want to take a this point in my life. I want a “career” path, a career title, besides being a Marine, which is supposed to be a part time gig. I have to give it all I’ve got, and find out if being a writer is something God has planned for me.
There’s nothing easy about writing, I know this. I’ve sat in front of a blank screen with the cursor blinking at me. I know while these stories seem to be battling me to get out right now, once I’m ready to write them…a vast deserted quiet will likely befall the voice currently narrating the stories. Even if all goes silent, I will do what writers do, I will write.
Traveling to New Distant Lands
Initially, I’m moving back in with my parents for a few months. Putting it out there, going to be 38 and moving in to an apartment in my parent’s house. I haven’t spent any significant time with my family for 20 years, so it will be good for me to spend three months with them – to get to know them better, and for them to get to know me better. Depending on the situation with my mom, I’ll likely spend some time in Canada as well.
In January of 2016, the plan is to head to Guatemala for a few months and write there. Escape the Massachusetts winter and explore Central America. This is a loose plan I’ll solidify while I’m in MA, and I actually have time to look more into my options. I’ll also need to take a trip down to New Orleans to get my things left in storage there over the last two years.
All and all next year, if it goes as desired, I’ll make it to Peru, Chile, Argentina and Ecuador. Writing about it all is part of the deal!
Along with the traveling, I want to keep hiking, biking and having outdoor adventures. I don’t want to return to the life I had before coming to Germany.
I’ve fallen behind on the Bible in a year program I started, but I’m still at it and determined to become more familiar with the Word of God. It just might take me a bit more than a year. My faith and knowledge of God has increased every year since turning my life over to Him. I want to keep this very good thing going. Since my writing will be focused on Him and what He has so far done in my life that ought to help to keep Him the center of my life. I want to more easily be able to share my testimony, and openly speak about Him to the people in my life, and new people I encounter. It doesn’t stop me from sharing, but I don’t like the way I talk about it now.
I’ve been praying to be more opened, to more easily share who I am with others, and let people into my life. I’ve also prayed to be more giving and generous.
Love and Relationship
I’ve been single for over five years and haven’t even been dating. I thought I would find love in Europe, which I did, with Germany, but not a man. My future is filled with unknowns and with me not staying put anywhere for any significant amount of time, so it’s not looking good this year either. Also, at this point, I don’t even know anymore what kind of man would win my heart.
I’m still so determined to find my place in the professional world. I don’t feel whole and that’s not a gap for a man to fill. It’s a gap for my purpose on earth to fill. This whole department is without a doubt all in God’s hands.
At some point, He will bringing it all together. May be this year and may be not. I’ll definitely keep leaning on Him for strength and help to continue the mighty fight against the fleshly demons that are hard at work attacking me often.
I expect it to be an amazing year. It won’t be without challenges and hardship, but those will only lead to new discoveries and blessings. I’ll keep living a life that’s God led, God filled and God driven. It’s the only way I know not to go wrong. Tomorrow He could change every single written word and intentions I have for my 38th year on earth – and if so, I will shift to where He tells me to go.
I appreciate all the love, support and encouragement of my family, friends and readers. There’s much content coming your way in the upcoming year! Thank you for sticking by me!