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Dreams As a Child

 


Things we desired as children depends on who you are, where you came from. Maybe the perspective you have or that which you were indoctrinated into. Too, it can be the time and place you were living in.

I’ve thought back quite a few times over the past year about what I desired to have in my life. What I wanted to become. How I wanted to operate my life and so forth.  There were many reasons why the creativity of my mind was mostly able to be applied eventually in my adulthood.

Primarily, I knew what I didn’t want. As well, I refused to limit myself to believing that we didn’t have choices. We do. It may not always be many. It may be two, but there they are. The choices are at the forefront of our future.

I’ll start by listing some things I desired as a child.

-I wanted stuffed animals in my bed. And a plethora of them.

-I wanted to save animal’s lives.

-I wanted to work the land.

-I wanted to rescue the unrescued.

-I wanted to be a philanthropist.

-I wanted to be a writer.

-I wanted to protect democracy.

-I wanted to save the world.

-I wanted to be a US Marine.

-I wanted to be a NJ State Trooper.

-I wanted people who needed to know, to know they were safe around me.

-I wanted to run races with foreigners.

-I wanted to set running records.

-I wanted to be the most honest person you ever met.

-I wanted to be the toughest person in the world.

-I wanted to be hidden. Live under the wire.

Yes all this before age fifteen. Running and the running desires was the addition to my life at age thirteen. Running was cheap, new and I was allowed to run. Very few things did I have time for. There was little available to me in my realm. It was something I could do alone. It was my form of sightseeing and contemplation.

Mind you I was born into a working-class family of lower-middle class income, early 1960’s, white, Northern New Jersey suburbia kid, baptized Catholic, parents were quite young. I was my mother’s fifth pregnancy, fourth delivered, third making it past twelve hours, and second of living three to make it into adulthood. My mother had experienced nine pregnancies, with only three making it past the first day.

I’m going to say that is where I think my creativity came from. Gratitude.

I will tell you the way I nearly attained all my childhood desires. That is then in hopes that you will realize you either did attain your childhood dreams/desires or they may still be attainable, or they no longer matter to you.

The whys:

-A plethora of stuffed animals, to me at age seven that made me feel comfortable.

-I rescued a kitten once when I was age five. Sometimes while out playing; but mostly as an adult out for a run. I’d find a bird or a fledgling in distress. It’d fell out of its nest onto the sidewalk in front of me. Or it flew into a pole or a car and landed in the street. What could I do? I once had dogs follow me for three miles on vacation in Vermont. I sensed they were lost.

-I learned to work the land by watching as a child. However, I was not allowed to mow the lawn, for it was considered a man’s job. I loved the idea of chipping in and solving my parent’s overload of work. They had troubles. I wanted to show that I was worth my salt. That I could do any job asked of me, and that I was employable.

-The un-rescued, were those people who are hidden away or had died, nurdered or otherwise. The people I knew whom had their lives altered by rapists, child-molesters, etc… The lonely ones, because we don’t talk about such things. How are they loved? Can they receive my love? I wondered.

-Robin Hood was a cool cat. That’s why. Although I wouldn’t rob from the rich. And I am not a millionaire.  People need comfort. Some need funds to help others. Especially, when it’s legit.

-I began writing at age seven. I felt a force from within. That at times it made me write incessantly. It was similar to the feeling I get when I’d run. It was expression of the soul.

-Without Democracy, we would lack freedoms. Rights need to be increased. Live and let live. We need laws, but we need individual rights for all should be equal.

-Saving the world is an ideology. Altruistic ideology. Wanting better for all others throughout the world. Maybe there will be peace if I try. If I recycle. If I use less food, use less fuel. Buy within economic reason organic foods. Or grow my own food without pesticides. Plant trees. Work my soil. Use cleaning products that are biodegradable. Take care of the pets we adopt.

-US Marine, I told a priest about thirteen years ago that I felt the calling before age seven to serve my country. I explained that I couldn’t explained it. I knew no one in family had been a Marine. I knew no woman in my family had been in the military. By the time I was eight it was the Marines which I’d desired. I felt I had all to give. By age ten it was also to give more meaning to my life. For I was ‘just’ a girl and knew the only way I could have a career in law enforcement or anything at the time to help society that was the place my feet should land. I also felt that death was always just around the corner. So, I’d better do something meaningful with my life before I leave the earth.

-NJ State Trooper, I felt it was the most disciplined of all law enforcement at the time. I looked up to them. I have no clue why. No one in my family had ever been in law enforcement.

-Safe around me: Because I knew most people didn’t care about others. My mother assured me how important my older brother was to her.  I knew the feeling of unloved. Even by loved ones as a child. I knew parents and law enforcement could not always be available when we needed them the most.

-Running races with foreigners: I knew I’d not ever have the time, nor the money to truly travel to a foreign land on my own to go running races. However, when I entered the longer races, especially the ultra-marathon races that is where I could experience running races with foreigners. Kind of hang out with them as we ran. Listen to their languages, even if I couldn’t pick up on the translation. I’d just remained the listener, to me that is entertaining. As well, it would fill my curiosities about people from other countries.

-Setting Running Records: Attempting a record gets me psyched to push the envelope in my training. As well, it seemingly gives me more of an opportunity to gain funds for running races that may cost more. Too, it has helped me raise funds for various charities over time. It gives me more material to do science. My husband used to call me, “The Good Little German”.

Honesty: It is the best policy. It you’re honest, there is not much to remember. It comes naturally. Less doubt in your arena of life.

Toughness: Life is hard. Life isn’t fair. There will be all sorts of battles, quibbles, gossip. At the end of the day, the person who stands by their values truly is the winner of their own life.

Hidden from life: I’ll be a smaller target. I enjoy being a team player. How someone performs is not necessarily all my doing. I might be a help as a cog in the wheel and that works for me. Winning the prize is great. Yet, I’ve found watching someone win a prize of accomplishment gives me even more joy.

The hows:

-I had a husband who encouraged the receiving and giving of stuffed animals that could only be cute and had to be fluffy. On Mother’s Day twelve years ago, as I’d insisted, “Please no flowers Honey.”.  He bought me quite the large fluffy polar bear stuff animals from a flower shop. We named her Snowball. She’s like a large body pillow. I have to say it was one of the best Mother’s Day gifts I’d ever received.

-I rescued a kitten once when I was age five. She ended up being adopted by men from me at my dad’s place of work. She had a long life and was loved and spoiled by the men that worked there for well over a decade. Sometimes while out playing; but mostly as an adult out for a run. I’d find a bird or a fledgling in distress. It’d fallen out of its nest onto the sidewalk in front of me. I’d either run back home with it rolled up into the front of my shirt and then drive to an animal hospital with it in my car. Or if I were ten miles from home, I’d find a secure location for it to be mostly out of harm’s way and say a prayer for it. Or if it flew into a pole or a car and landed in the street. What could I do? I remember picking up birds from the street, setting them in the grass, praying; then seeing them get up seemingly unharmed and fly away. I once had dogs follow me for three miles on vacation in Vermont. I sensed they were lost. Once I got near where there were other people. I asked if they could call the owner(s). I was able to grab the collar from one of the dogs who just wanted to play with me. They’d run alongside me for miles. I held one dog and coerced the other dog to come by and sit beside me. Twenty minutes later the owner showed up and thanked me and the person that called them, I’d commandeered. Yes, I do live a crazy life, or so it seems.

-Working the land. I remember my dad scolding me around age eleven as I’d ‘beaten him to the punch’.  It was as I gotten home from school one early spring afternoon I went into our shed and grabbed a shovel and began turning over the soil in our garden. I got tired about two-thirds of the way through. He scolded me, because he’d just rented a machine that could do the same thing as my turning over the soil.

-The un-rescued. Many times, I could only be compassionate, saying prayers for them without them knowing so. Other times, through my business I’d spent extra time with them and didn’t charge them for the extra time, even if it were an extra hour. They were lonely. I’d gone to hospitals to volunteer, one in an AIDS pediatric ward every two weeks for half a year. Then there were the conflicted. Many times, I sensed they needed to vent. Get a ride from me, they were perhaps the conflicted, whether they were an addict, disoriented, or a person with a criminal past. It didn’t matter. I just knew they needed someone to listen to in their time of crisis. They needed someone to be kind at that moment. Or they needed me to walk them back to their car in the dark, to their dorm in the dark of night.

-Philanthropy may not be exactly through monetary giving. As a matter of fact, I feel writing a check is less fulfilling than actually doing something. Like giving of your time. I’ve figured out through organizations I’ve been affiliated with when I was a teenager I could give time. As an adult, I could run races to raise monies. I could invent events for charities, direct them, run them and run for them. Yes, I could play ‘the fool’ or the ‘crazy one’ and run for hours, miles and days to raise funds. I used my therapy business to give what I had for free to help those directly in pain, who could not afford me. Their insurance was either gone or didn’t cover my services. All I needed was a script for them from a doctor and then I knew what to do.

-I’d write upon the urge. And when I didn’t write upon the urge I felt lost. So, I knew to always write something. And so, I embarked on throwing away my ego most times. Not to be attached to most works of writing. I decided it was unimportant to earn monies from my writing. Yet, it was more important to write from my soul. I needed to write and something in the universe needed to know that it was written.

-There are very few countries that seek or hold high the rights of all the people. The United States of America may be quite the flawed country. Yet, we work at having rights for all people regardless of race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, disabilities, gender, etc… So, protecting Democracy is by my allowing opines. Live and let live standards when I go to vote. I Vote.

-Saving the world. I have been, I am and will be accountable and teach our children now to be accountable for every action. Being patient with others just because it’s the right thing to do. Role-model to the world, not because I’m better at it. No. But because it’s my responsibility, especially if I have the knowledge and capabilities to do so. Reminding myself every day that I am a work in progress. And that there’s room for improvement every day in my life, of my life. Because that’s my job. Live within my means.

-Birth defects and all unknown and known to me. After my eighteenth birthday, I followed through and signed the papers to become a US Marine. I did well. The service served me well.

-NJ State Trooper dream stopped when my husband asked me to marry him. One stipulation, he didn’t not want me to go into law enforcement. He feared for my life. I did the Trooper Youth program in 1979, which was a great experience.

-Safe around me: I have had friends as we’d run, and a dog would come out after us off their property, I’d stood in front of my friend with my pepper spray. I’ve had it where I saw kids picking on others I’d intervened, reprimanding where I could. Young women coming off work at two or three in the morning, I’d see trouble brewing and no one else responding. I intervened on their behalf while I was out for a long run. Letting would-be criminals know I was watching, and I was involved. Yes, I took my chances plenty of times, even in the dark of night.  So, my aim had been, and remains to be fit, well-trained, alert, and knowledgeable when safety was needed. Our children have heard me say, “If I can’t see you. I can’t save you.” So, I remain vigilante, observant and caring. Last year during an exit review from a three month, full-time, volunteer job—My bosses’ boss said that I was the safest person. I kept others safe in the work areas, and he never had to remind me the wearing of PPE. I gently reminded my co-workers of unsafe situations.

-Running with foreigners: Running longer races like ultras and adventure racing was where it all came together. I met quite a number of interesting people from other countries. Tanzania, Lithuania, Greece, Italy, Australia, East Germany (1988), Japan, Denmark, and there were others. Too, throughout my life in business I’ve had the good fortune to meet, train, chat, learn, and listen to people from Russia, Cuba, China, Taiwan, Bangladesh, India, Thailand, the Philippines, Luxemburg, Serbia, Columbia, Scotland, England, Ireland, Norway, Iraq, Iran, Kenya, Venezuela, El Salvador, Guatemala, Ghana, Brazil, France, Israel, Poland, and I’m certain there were others.

-Setting Running Records: train a lot during off hours as to not upset the family applecart. The willingness to sleep three hours most nights to save money to afford time off from work, babysitting needed for the time I was away. Get family involved. Doing practically all attempts for a record with charity fund raising attached to it. Do speeches for free at military bases, colleges and the like to raise interest for charities and therein lies the attempted running record. There was a lot more to it, but those are the basics. Be flexible with your mindset, and your training. Yet, the physical training and conditioning are all encompassing at times. This is especially important when you work full-time, have children, and you’re at a middle-income level taking care of the household with your spouse.

Honesty: my ritualistic approach to life, knowing much is not fair in life. But my being honest is fair in life and I always want to be fair. The pain from being honest is dismissible.

Toughness: Throw away my ego. I don’t need to be right. I need to be happy. Take it on the chin whether I’m right or wrong. Reminding myself how fortunate I am birth defects, traumas and all. Then setting all aside and being grateful nearly every second of every day. Praying for others.

Hidden from Life: Going about my business, work on not engaging the enemy (The Art of War). Just like in business, putting my nose to the grindstone I’ve gotten more promotions working harder. I’ve gotten places that people with Masters and PhD’s have gotten, and not having a degree at that time. It was my attention to detail, taking orders, doing what needed to be done and not being jealous, not gossiping about others. Doing things I knew my bosses would need weeks or months in advance and then doing them ahead to make them look good in an executive meeting. People must lose my respect. Everyone already has it. That keeps me most quiet, and I can always think of how I can be creative to effect my writing when I disagree with something. Or make complete nonsensical humor of it, which pleases me greatly. ---Jody-Lynn Reicher

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