A Story of Positive Survival Power

My girlfriend said, “You have to write a story about your experience.”

We were in a deep conversation about Hurricane Irma. Her children and baby granddaughter had just moved to Florida and the opinions of ‘what they should do’ were coming from all directions.

Their ages and the tales of this new, unsettling experience brought back an old memory. My move to the largest military base in the deep South.

I moved to Columbus, Georgia, at the very young age of 21, with a new baby girl, six weeks old. I moved to the military base, Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia, without my second Lieutenant husband, who had orders to precede me by two weeks. I knew no one. I had never been on a military base. I had never flown alone with an infant.

My mother said, “You can’t take care of your goldfish, how are you going to fly across America with a newborn to a military base in Georgia!”

How would you have reacted to my circumstances at the age of 21? Would you have had the feistiness, moxie, and bravery?  Ask yourself ‘right now’ if you are stretching yourself at your present age, past 50?   Would you move to a new community, start a new business, travel to Rwanda in Africa to visit the Silverbacks?

I told my friend, recounting the experience, “I never doubted myself. Sure I was afraid of the unknown. But, I had no fear of failure.” And then I explained why…

Kankakee by the Sea was my most important teacher on the subject of survival. The town, thank God, taught me to adapt as a young girl to every situation that requires true grit, an ability to stretch myself without breaking, a positive attitude that I will succeed. I faced situations that exceeded reasonableness for a young girl, but I left the town with a feeling of positive power and an earthiness in my soul, that small town girls have. That small town way of thinking, to this day, keeps me grounded, kind, and open to meeting people from all walks of life. Thank you, Kankakee by the Sea.

This was who I was as the young woman who flew to an unknown military base in the South. I may not have had the prowess to know how to clean my fish bowl, but I knew how to survive. I would participate and enjoy my new surroundings even with cockroaches; which I out survived. (I killed them with spray starch.)

My ultimate concierge just looked at me and said, “We have to be careful we are not wasting our lives because of the time we are spending with our pooch, Orchid.”

My husband’s words hit a cord. I was thrilled to hear him say he is still very much in the hunt of life.

As we age we have a choice. We can stay in the race and continue to dream big dreams. I intend to do just that and make sure my concierge hangs with me. I am still that young girl walking alone with Jenny into those gates at Fort Benning looking only forward to the unknown.

I realize everyone is not as fortunate to have my upbeat attitude of totally being excited about life. I know I am older but so what? My gray hair does not bother me not nor do my lines. I lead a relevant life with my ‘older husband,’ who grounds me and adores me and vice versa, our children and grands.

But I gotta tell you: It is because of my beloved Kankakee by the Sea that I will persist to live on.

Susan “Honey” Good is the founder of HoneyGood.com where this blog originally appeared. The site is a collection of lessons learned, life advice and insights from not only her, but from a fantastic group of contributing writers, each adding their own spice to the recipe. Honey Good.com representing “a family tree of women” — wives, mothers, daughters, granddaughters, mothers-in-law, daughters-in-law, sisters, aunts, cousins and girlfriends — coming together to talk about what makes them tick as well as what they have in common. Honey Good discusses life experiences with wisdom, humor and intellect, enabling all to attain a “Honey Good Style of Life.”