It’s never too late to follow your dreams. Time is a resource we all have, and utilizing it to the max opens the way to breathtaking experiences. Wonders truly reside in the challenges of undiscovered horizons. There is so much to life, often much more than people realize.
We all have hidden talents, yet so of us few realize it, or allow our mysterious, whimsical sides to be revealed to the outside world. Human nature is comfortable with the known; however, there is much to be had in those uncharted territories.
Just imagine yourself as an octopus . . . you have this body with all these legs to reach out and discover different things and places. If you don't use them to explore, your potential to witness many sights and situations will never become a reality.
No one should cut themselves short in life! In those moments when we pause and ask ourselves . . . “I wonder if I could do that?”. . . we should not stop there, but instead embrace the challenge, expend the energy, and find out what life is like upon our next achievement. Our life journey is what we make of it, and the more we strive the more previously unimagined feats prevail.
I grew up with all species of family pets. I was that kid who found creatures and brought them home as pets: turtles and crayfish, salamanders, etc. I’ve always deeply loved animals and all living creatures.
Not surprisingly, early on I wanted to become a veterinarian. So I obtained a BS in Animal Science, and went to work with a veterinarian for the experience, to help determine if this was my future career. The small animal veterinarian I worked for was very kind, but not a strong communicator. I could see that clients were frustrated and fearful in trying to understand his medical jargon.
Soon I lost heart with this and ventured on to participate in animal research at the local medical school. I had the opportunity and enjoyed assisting in two manuscripts on physiology. During this time a professor suggested I apply to medical school to become a physician. I listened and cautiously considered the idea, but a little voice in my head said, “You’re not smart enough to get into medical school.”
My late father was a great optimist, and a favorite expression was, “You’ll never know if you don't T-R-Y it.” This was accompanied by bits about learning from our mistakes, that if we didn’t try new things we’d never make mistakes, and therefore learn or grow. He championed the idea that we must always T-R-Y and pursue adventures in life. Otherwise, we’ll never know everything we could and can do.
So, guided by my father’s words, I applied, was accepted into and completed to medical school in Wisconsin. Wanting to practice in a beautiful area, I moved to the Pacific Northwest and practiced pediatric medicine for nearly 20 years.
I married a native Oregonian and we have a daughter, along with our extended furry family members and a box turtle.
Three years ago my then eighth-grade daughter chose to work at an animal shelter as part of a required project. Parental accompaniment was required, and while the time commitment was a stretch I believed in volunteering and knew it would strengthen our relationship, which of course it did. We worked in the cattery at Multnomah County Animal Services eight hours per month, learning about this new world, playing with cats and helping potential adopters find their perfect match. We enjoyed the experience so much we’re still volunteering there today.
It’s a known fact that helping others evokes happiness, and not only do I get complete satisfaction from helping others, but also from my memories. My experiences from volunteering with my daughter were so wonderful, today I volunteer at two animal facilities. Shelters have a tremendous impact in our community, and the experience has immeasurably boosted my happiness in life. I wonder at how both of these volunteer experiences brought me back full circle to my true love for animals, which fills me with a magical happiness words can’t fully express.