We baby boomers might not have nine lives like a cat, but Geneva Broussard of Arcadia, California, has proved that we can have at least two. In her first life, she didn’t control her own destiny. In her second life, she does.
I grew up on a farm in the Midwest. In the 1960s, farm girls were expected to marry and have children. I wanted something different though; I wanted to go to college, but that wasn’t happening. Instead, I did the expected and buried my dreams. Following those expectations took me through the river and over the woods of someone else’s wishes for my life.
Living out those unwanted wishes, I endured three marriages, raised two lovely daughters, and worked thirty years at a job I didn’t like. My second marriage was physically abusive. When I showed signs of reaching for my destiny, he acted as if I’d declared war on him and it nearly cost me my life. I escaped with even less self-worth. I’d like to blame someone else for these situations I repeatedly got myself into, but honestly I was to blame.
It was my fault for having no faith, courage, or confidence in myself. It was my fault that I went looking to someone else to fulfill me. I spent the first thirty-five years of my life learning what I didn’t want, and being miserable because of it.
The next twenty-five years though was a sea change. I learned and experimented living life full on. At thirty-seven I garnered the courage to take control of the destiny I wanted to create. I enrolled at the university for a Bachelor’s degree. Then, I went to law school and got a law degree. However, as proud as I was of myself and my accomplishments, I still felt unfulfilled and unclear. I continued searching.
At fifty-two I met and fell in love with a guy who was twenty-something. May-December for sure, but through our love, I rediscovered my dreams. I’d buried them beneath the years of detritus resulting from my unhappiness. I came to understand that happiness is an inside job and that first I needed to love and embrace myself. With that, my dreams awoke and I started to write. I returned to the university to study English. Studying and writing, my soul sang for the first time.
My relationship with the twenty-something didn’t last, but our love and my dreams survived. In February 2014, at sixty-two, I retired and started living another dream I unburied — traveling.
Now, at sixty-four, I have completed a Masters in English & Creative Writing. I also completed a novel and created my blog. I hadn’t always wanted to write a blog because, hell, they are a recent phenomenon. But I wanted to write something and I’d long hidden that dream. So in July, my website was born. It’s been a long road to this milestone of an accomplishment.
But by far, learning to love myself has been my dearest accomplishment. Then, recovering my buried dreams and breathing life into them is a close second. Now I know we’re never too old to follow our dreams and change our lives, even if we have to dig those dreams out of the trenches in which we’ve hidden them.