At Last, Success

Momservation: “All success consists of this: You are doing something for somebody—benefitting humanity—and the feeling of success comes from the consciousness of this.” Elbert Hubbard

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I am in love.

I am love with the latest chapter in my life.

I am in love with my class.

I am in love with my students.

I am in love with the treasures my students present me each week: their life stories.

I am in love with feeling relevant.

I am in love with being able to share my knowledge.

I am in love with being able to share my talents.

I am in love with, once again, opportunity throwing me a surprise party.

What has me as giddy as the cutest boy in class offering up the empty seat next to him on the bus?

I started teaching a memoir writing class at the local community center. It’s once a week on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. which makes it geared toward retirees. I was hoping maybe a half dozen people might be interested.

They had to expand my class capacity because 26 people signed up for the first month!

The average age appears to be 72. I have 3 Barbara’s in my class. I only have 3 gentlemen in my class. I have one woman who is from Great Britain and one from Germany and an American woman who married an Iraqi and raised 3 girls in a country that gave them very little times of peace.

My students are eager for my homework assignments. Sometimes they apologize to me for missing a class because they were on a cruise. Every Tuesday I have someone tell me how great they think my class is. Every time someone thanks me for helping them finally tell their life stories.

We are in a Mutual Admiration Society.

Oh, and the stories I get to read! They are amazing! They are astonishing! They are heartwarming! They are educational! They are truly a treasure for the friends and family they hope to gift their writings to by the end of my class in May.

The colorful quilt of tales that is being woven from experiences and perspectives that span more than half a century from all different countries…is absolutely beautiful and priceless. I feel so blessed that they have chosen me as their seamstress.

I have done many things in my life that I think are worthwhile, joyful, and rewarding. But teaching this class to this group of people will go down as one of my life’s greatest joys and accomplishments.

I used to think the definition of success was having a book on the New York Times Best Seller list and being selected for Oprah’s Book Club.

But every Tuesday at 10 a.m. more than two dozen people have patted the seat next to them and asked me to sit down. Together we are embarking on a journey that when it pulls up to the final stop—a memoir of their life—we will all be richer for the accomplishment. I will have helped someone overcome their personal roadblocks to achieve something they’ve always wanted to do.

To me there is no greater success than that.

Love at first sight.


Who wants to join our love-fest? What’s your story to tell? Join us in turning your memories into a memoir through guided journaling and writing exercises. A gift to yourself or for your family! Next class starts October 3 through Mission Oaks Recreation and Park District.

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