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Dear Universe,

There is a nice cool breeze today; I am enjoying the view of the San Francisco Bay, and a yummy white chocolate mocha, as I sit here (in 2025). My family and I have spent the spring traveling the coast, trying to enjoy our last bit of time as a full-time family. Soon summer will be here; Haden, who is now eighteen, will be leaving with friends to do some traveling of his own in Europe, and once he comes home, he will likely be starting his college experience, and building towards the life he wants for himself.

I recall what it felt like, thirteen years ago, to just be embarking on my journey into higher education. I was scared and excited, all at the same time. I am forever grateful that I took the plunge, and decided to take on something that felt so much bigger than me at the time. It ultimately aided in realizing my interests, and I discovered myself on a new level, one where I felt capable of anything. Now as Haden’s adulthood grows near, I just hope that he takes away as much from his experiences.

Shortly into my schooling, I ran across a call for short-story submissions to be published in a book called, A Lesson in Doubt: the social and linguistic construction of OCD. It almost felt like fate stepping in, to give me a nudge in the right direction, so I decided to write a piece detailing my personal struggles with OCD, about how it had impacted my life and my family.

In those days, feeling fueled by my passion to address social issues, my path just seemed to naturally lead me to pursuing my activism through written forms. In my attempts to inflict positive changes, my love of writing continued to grow, which eventually lead me to minor in English, while majoring in Sociology. Throughout school I grew my personal blog, Explore, Dream. Discover. I would write frequently about anything and everything, trying to grow my abilities. My classes only fed my writing, making the topics I approached more variant. I started guest blogging on other blogs, and began working on my first book, Rape Culture in America: The Normalization of Sexual Violence, before I graduated.

I love the freedom that writing affords me in my everyday life. However, the most powerful thing about writing is the release for my mind, being able to reach out to people with my words, and have an effect on them.  Sometimes, I love the way it consumes me, when I have something I need to get out, and how hard it can be to get it done; that it isn’t easily given.

Michael and I are forty now, which thirteen years ago when I was starting school, would have sounded much too old to me. I surely don’t feel old though! I am still homeschooling, currently working on my second book when I can, and I am a contributing writer for The Huffington Post on social issues. Between Michael’s entrepreneurial exploits and my writing, it has left us with the freedom to travel all over the United States, from Washington D.C. to New Orleans to Denver, and many lesser known places in between. It has been an amazing adventure, homeschooling on the road, and taking advantage of opportunity. We did this full-time for five years, before deciding to build our forever home. Since then, we have continued to travel for upwards of six months out of the year, enjoying our ability to wander.

My children have both grown up to be such independent, smart young adults, and I feel so proud of who they have become. Addison is fifteen now, sometimes in the midst of teenage angst, and has been feeling a bit jealous of the adventure her brother is about to take. Most days though, she is incredibly lively, compassionate, and energetic. She has always had a soft spot for animals, and now she volunteers regularly with one of our local rescue groups. Haden is thoughtful and creative, with a flair for the dramatic and artistic. He has always been a boy with many interests, and I look forward to watching him follow those, just as he always has.

As we near our childfree years, we are at crossroads, trying to decide where to go from here. I think back to my years of school, about the lessons that I learned, but most importantly about what I learned about myself. I wouldn’t trade those ups and downs for anything, knowing that they will always see through, up until the very end.  My biggest life lesson has been to never fear the new; as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “ All of life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”

(This is actually the essay I had to write for my final in my English class. The assignment was to put myself in the year 2025, describe what my life is like there, and how my college experience impacted my future. When I got done, it felt like I had sent a positive message out to the Universe about what I want for myself.)

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