A life-long journey of self-discovery and self-awareness awaits. Trust your instincts. Follow your heart. The joy is in the journey.
The first sign of inner strength to carve your own path is skipping Mass in eighth grade. It will feel risky, rebellious, and exhilarating. After decades of trying to embrace your religious upbringing, forty will be a breakthrough year. Confident in your spirituality, you will understand how you live your life is more important than any organization you belong to or label people try to put on you.
In your twenties, health issues teach you to take care of yourself and not compromise your personal values for an employer. This conflict will show up several times. You will change jobs frequently and move almost as often.
You will make many life choices that give your mother and father heartburn. Through it all, your parents will provide a safety net for as long as they are in this world. Their love and support will give you the self-confidence to face any challenge placed in your path.
The easiest and best decision you will make, at age fifty-one, will be to end twenty-four years of living in the Florida sun to return to your hometown in Michigan and care for your parents. At age fifty-nine, you make the most difficult decision of your life, leaving the Peace Corps early. Commitment to self will win over commitment to the Corps.
Follow your parents’ examples: be generous with yourself and possessions, give to the community you live in, and leave the world a better place for having been in it.
As for the future, embrace the wanderlust that drives you. Live the life you are meant to live. The joy is in the journey.