MLN-FrontPorch-14Once upon a time, I believed that getting old meant the exciting and fun part of life was over.  I was also cocky and impatient and, because I was very focused and wasn’t afraid of hard work, I felt that I would achieve everything I wanted before I got old.

If this column was a fairy tale, I would now write a couple of possible endings:

  • Ending 1: Would show that I had achieved my dreams and I would be was spending my twilight years on the front porch bragging about my success and sharing happy memories.
  • Ending 2:  Would show that life had treated me harshly and I would be spending my twilight years on the front porch complaining about my miserable and unsuccessful life.

This isn’t a fairy tale. Hence, neither of the above ending is applicable.

Life has been good.  After high school, I married my high school sweetheart, bore three children, tended my home and handled a part-time job with ease.  It took me ten years to realize that I no longer loved the man to whom I was married and I didn’t like the lifestyle we shared. So, I got a divorce and joined the workforce full time. I found myself at the bottom of the pay scale in my chosen field.  However, I really loved working in telecommunications, so I stayed in that field and worked my way up to mid-management.  On my way up I completed my education, met and married the man of my dreams, raised my children, acquired a beautiful home, traveled and did volunteer work.

Sadly, I was so busy trying to have it all that I failed to smell the roses.  I enjoyed life’s personal and professional events, opportunities and celebrations. Yet, I took little time to relish my successes or mourn my losses.  I ignored offers of friendship and love that didn’t fit in with my lifestyle or wouldn’t help get me exactly where I wanted to be. Dumb me!  I settled for a good life because I was too busy to recognize that I was smack in the middle of a great life.

Almost five years ago, I became a widow.  Losing my husband rocked my world and caused me to believe that my life from that point on would consist of sitting on my porch (or my patio) remembering my past.

But, occasionally, life provides a few very lucky folks another shot at the brass ring that they failed to grasp the first time around.  Happily, I’m one of those very lucky folks who found and fell in love with a wonderful companion who wants to spend the rest of his life with me. So, instead of sitting on the porch recalling my past, I’m busy thanking God for the blessing of a “bonus” life and planning a bright future – a future in which I will stop and smell the roses.

I wish each of you a Happy Thanksgiving from the bottom of my thankful heart.

Betty Freeman Haines, an author and award winning columnist, lives in Mesquite, NV.  Her books/e-books, Reluctant Hero and Grieving Sucks or Does It, can be ordered from amazon.comShare your thoughts and opinions with her at