The other day, I found myself shouldered against a wall in the upstairs room of our Rim Country Museum -- our town's place where historical mementos important to our area's past are kept on exhibit.
Like every place in our country, there is so much history in each and every town. It's up to us to decide if we wish to know or not know why our town is what it is today. Myself, I was never a history buff. I hated history class in school. Through the years, I've slowly become more interested in how we got to where we are today -- be it local or worldwide.
At the Rim Country Museum the other day, I stood there with ears tuned in to three local musicians playing their guitars and a ukulele. It was nice and I found myself smiling as I listened.
I grinned and took in the easiness of the room. I looked down to my cowboy boots and my boot-cut blue jeans. I could feel the grip of my cowboy hat around my head.
Then I realized something. Life is lived in phases.
Two years ago, I was somewhere else -- somewhere far from here in my mind, my soul and geographically.
I was a different person then. My life was full of work, work and more work. Yet, I could never catch up. I was one-dimensional. My life was really no life at all and I didn't even know it.
I was born and raised in Minnesota. That phase ended when we moved to Florida. What a change. I was single and worked and partied and joined the Army. Those three years in the Army were my next phase. I saw much of Europe and I'll never forget those times.
I came home to Florida to settle down. Soon I was married and another phase began. I learned to be unselfish in love and live for us instead of me. Through time, things changed and we weren't the "us" we once were. Working two and three jobs all the time took its toll and we were fading. Constant work and the souring marriage unknowingly had me on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Something had to change, and quick.
The other day when I found myself against a wall in the upstairs room of our Rim Country Museum, for the first time, I saw my phases.
I went from a farm boy, to a partier, to a serviceman, to married, to a workaholic, to this upstairs room in Payson -- right where I want to be.
If you are living to work when you should be working to live, slow down and think about your life. Smell those roses. I missed seeing my nieces and nephews growing up. I was there, but I wasn't. Life only comes around once. Live it. Find your phases. Realize their importance. Just as any town has its history, so do you.
Editor's note: This letter was cut to fit within our 400 word limit policy for Letters to the Editor.