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Too young to be old

Posted on March 10, 2013 at 4:40 PM

Sunday, March 10, 2013

I'm young enough that I can still count the wrinkles and gray hairs but old enough that my era as a full-time mom has come to an end. The nest is empty. I can sit around and cry, or I can decide where to go from here.

I've been fortunate to accomplish most things I've set out to accomplish in my life. I've been leader of my high school flag team, a college cheerleader, a professional cheerleader, a college graduate, a masters graduate, Miss Oklahoma, talent winner and Top 10 finalist at Miss America, a professional singer, a professional emcee, a television news reporter, a television news anchor, a business executive...my life has been full.

But if I'm honest, all I really ever wanted and needed to be was a mom. I wanted to have babies and love them and cherish them and be a positive force in their lives and the world they would impact. I got to do that for too short a time. Because of divorce and vastly contraditory parenting styles, I wound up having an empty nest a lot sooner than I had planned.

Today it's too late to go back to the things I gave up to be a mom, and it's too soon to retire to a nursing home rocking chair with my knitting needles and basket of yarn. My husband says I'm too hot to be an old lady.

So I look at people who have reinvented themselves and flown out of the empty nest. My big sister is my greatest example. Jan Marler Morrill used to be the shrinking violet sister who carried my evening gowns when I was performing in pageants. After her Big Star sister brought down the house, Jan would dutifully go to the dressing room to clean up my mess and pack my gowns, hair spray and makeup. She spent her life in the background, taking care of everyone else. It must have been hard when that role came to an end.

Jan could be in a rocking chair somewhere (her nest has been empty for many years), but she never sits still long enough to rock. She's a newly-published author who gives lectures and who every once in a while paints a painting or runs in a marathon or goes on an international vacation or whatever she feels like doing.

I'm sure Jan at some point reached a crossroads where she wondered if her best years were behind her. When you've effectively reached the end of the only life you've ever imagined, it's time to start imaging a new life. That's where I am today.

I've been everything I've ever wanted to be. Now I just need to decide what I want to be when I grow up. Because I'm too young to be old.

Categories: Career, Family, Serenity

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