michelle nicole photography
michelle nicole photography

When I was young, life loomed large before me with every new day presenting an opportunity to discover, something. I bounded out of bed each morning refreshed with renewed curiosity and energy, eager to see what path I could choose for my future. On my road of life, I did not stumble upon a crossroads, which presented the proverbial fork requiring a choice with clear directions; I encountered a veritable spaghetti spoon of options and wanted to try every one.

I am sure all of us have either heard or said at one time or another, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” This was a challenging question for me because I enjoyed so many activities that it was difficult to focus on just one and as far as I was concerned, with unlimited possibilities, I shouldn’t have to!

From the day children are born; parents dream of their offspring’s future accomplishments, imagining unparalleled success in all of their endeavors and often attempt to live vicariously through them. My mother wanted me to be a pianist. She fancied me touring with the orchestra and between my world travels; she envisioned a quaint cottage with a picket fence and a shingle hanging on a decorative post advertising Piano Lessons. My dad loved to travel and encouraged me to see exotic places by taking to the friendly skies as a Flight Attendant. I could envision both of these occupations, as I loved playing the piano and traveling with my parents, but my heart has always been a creative dreamer that used any medium at its disposal. Pen and ink, charcoal, Conte Crayons, clay, cloth, ivory keys or words; each of these have, throughout my adolescence, produced award-winning creations. Still, as I was fast approaching my senior year in high school, I had not found my career niche. So, I continued to pursue my classical piano training, and had my sights set on the Peabody Institute when I happened to see a documentary on Forensic Facial Approximation. This appeared to be the perfect career field for me marrying my love for art and travel sprinkled with a little mystery and intrigue. I could still play the piano while earning a Bachelor’s Degree, I reasoned with myself, and was quite happy with my decision that was until I met the man and married. At that moment, the world stopped, and I discovered that more than anything else, I wanted to be a wife and a mother. Now my life had a direction and I settled into a storybook Once Upon a Time life, abandoning all of my former adolescent, grandiose dreams. Little did I know what plans life had in store for me.

divorce, financial hardship, car accidents, broken bones, surgeries, disability, chronic pain, fibromyalgia

Unfortunately, my beautiful looking glass shattered and one by one shards fell to the floor with each devastating event, leaving my dreams broken, swept into a neat little pile to be discarded. Yet as I stared at the empty remains of the gilded frame, I saw something looming behind the glass…

… a blank canvass, an opportunity.

Suddenly, the possibilities were again limitless. I didn’t need to pick up the pieces of my former dreams, I could craft a new looking glass, one more grandiose than I could have ever imagined in my youth.

Today, as I sit at my computer working on this blog, sunlight glints off a beautiful mirror. In its reflection is a grand piano, which I play every day for an audience of Maine Coons. The piano’s bench is usually askew from where my new husband sits to put on his shoes before work each morning. Twenty-years after remarrying, we still feel like newlyweds. Our DVR is taping a show about anthropology or Sherlock Holmes and notes for a new book I am writing litter the kitchen island. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined such a perfect life!

Friends, I challenge you today to see beyond the devastation of your diagnosis or hardship and discover that in the Grand Dios scheme of life, the end of one dream is merely the beginning of another.