#BeingMyOwnGuest – You Know, I Really Wasn’t Born Old, Honest!

Since I had no one scheduled for a #GuestDayTuesday post this morning, I decided to drop by for a chat, myself. It occurred to me the other day that probably 99% of my blogging and writing friends have only “known me” since I published my first book in 2013. I was 69 years old at the time, and well past my prime. (And I hereby confess that the following ‘almost 10 years’ have definitely taken me even farther down that particular road.)ย 

After pondering this revelation for a while, I decided I’d share proof of the fact that I really was was young once. (And slim … ish.) And I truly did spend vast quantities of time canoeing, hiking, and camping in various forests. Plus, I was a volunteer with what was once the “Florida” Audubon Society, and a docent at the Central Florida Zoo. My love of wildlife and nature has been with me all my life, and here’s a bit of evidence for those of you who just can’t picture this crazy ol’ lady doing those kinda things.ย 

Here I am at the Zoo, doing one of my favorite things: leading groups of school children through the exhibits, telling them about the animals, and showing them interesting goodies like, in this case, a monkey’s skull. (Photo circa 1980 or so,ย  otherwise known as the Era of Big Hair! ๐Ÿ˜€ )

And here I am doing my VERY FAVORITE Zoo “chore”– strolling about with a 5-foot long ball python which enjoyed being draped over my shoulders so visitors could touch it and discover that snakes are NOT slimy. (Nor are they always aggressive or harmful.) I would also carry around an even longer indigo snake now and then, but he was not as calm about being handled, and would squirm like crazy, trying his best to get away. The python seemed to enjoy the attention, so he was my usual companion. You’ll have to take my word on the size of this big boy, since in this picture, you can only see his tail wrapped around my left hand. My right hand was holding his head down low enough for a little boy to pat. If I ever find the good photo showing the entire snake completely at ease, I’ll share it, too.

As for loving hiking and camping, here’s a snapshot I also came across taken byย  Mark somewhere around 1982 as we headed into Ocala National Forest for the weekend. Mark would pack my backpack SO full, I had visions of me falling over backwards and lying there helpless, kicking my legs in the air like an overturned turtle, as he hiked off into the distance, oblivious to my distress. ๐Ÿ˜€ That’s Juniper Creek behind me, btw, an area we always loved exploring. (And I’m not really standingย  in the water, as it might appear. I’m actually on a slightly raised trail, a few feet away.)

So there you have photographic evidence that I had a fun and entertaining life in those days, and would probably still be doing the same kinda stuff today–though a bit more slowly, of course–if I hadn’t decided to pursue the one thing I loved even more: Writing!

I know most of you are nowhere near my advanced age,
but I’m still curious: what did YOU love to do
before you took up writing?

70 thoughts on “#BeingMyOwnGuest – You Know, I Really Wasn’t Born Old, Honest!

    • Some animals are best admired from a distance, Yvette, but that python was a gentle creature, and I really loved carrying him around. I loved my days at the Zoo! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Nice to know you enjoy hiking and animals, too, and thanks so much for stopping by to share that today! ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

      Liked by 2 people

    • As you can see, I wasn’t a kid–in my 40’s through most of it–but I sure do remember it. And for more than just the big hair. ๐Ÿ˜€ (For ME, there were big snakes, too! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ) And big alligators in the streams, and big birds in the sky … that’s what comes to my mind when I hear the old phrase, Livin’ Large. ๐Ÿ˜‚)

      Thanks for stopping by today, Jeanne. Have a great rest of the week! ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

      Liked by 2 people

    • Glad you enjoyed it, Craig. It sure brought back a LOT of memories for me, and made me realize how many fun things I was involved in and how much time I spent out in nature. It’s nice to look back on it.

      Thanks for stopping by this morning and taking time to say hello! Have a great rest of the week! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 3 people

    • Oooh, thanks for the reminder, Marian. I’ll head over there shortly! And thanks for stopping by this morning, too. Yep … vim and vigor were part of my days way back then, for sure. And I enjoyed pretty much every minute of it all.

      See you at Pete’s! ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

      Liked by 2 people

    • Glad you enjoyed the post, Debbie, and with I’m you on the gardening, when my back allows. The only dog training I’ve ever done was with each of our three dachshunds we had over the years. Some of it took. Some didn’t. (Dachshunds are notoriously hard-headed. ๐Ÿ˜€ ) We just have cats now, and know better than to try to train them. ๐Ÿ˜‚

      Nature still amazes me daily, even if it’s mostly due to the critters who visit our yard. We’ve had migrating goldfinches at the feeder for over a week now, and some of the males are already in full breeding plumage. GORGEOUS!

      Thanks for stopping by and taking a moment to say hello! ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

      Liked by 1 person

    • As you might imagine, Sharon, snakes are not quite as popular as furry, cuddly critters, but I am fascinated by them, and truly enjoy reptiles in general. I love MOST animals, though, so you can’t always go by me. (Well … except for spiders, that is. I just can’t help feeling that anything with eight hairy legs is up to no good! ๐Ÿ˜)

      Thanks so much for stopping by today and taking a moment to say hello! ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I enjoyed this look into your past, Marcia. Like you, I’m an outdoor person. My husband and I used to camp a lot, and I loved taking walks at a nearby nature preserve and a wildlife refuge. My bad knees prevent me from doing that these days, and now my idea of camping is a nice luxury cabin! But I still enjoy the outdoors.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Glad you enjoyed the post, Joan, and while my knees are a bit achy, it’s really general old age & some health issues that have slowed me down. *sigh* But I’m trying to focus on the things I can still do, rather than the things I can’t.

      A trip down Memory Lane now and then reminds me that I was lucky enough to get LOADS & LOADS of camping and hiking done over a lot of years, and I’ll always be grateful for that. I can still find ways to enjoy the outdoors, even if to a more limited extent, and I hope you can as well!

      Thanks for stopping by today and taking a moment to say hello! ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Great photos and, of course, you haven’t intrisically changed at all! There’s a place not far from us that lets you get up and close with more exotic creatures. Our two eldest grandsons loved it so much, they booked the staff in with some of the ‘critters’ for their birthday parties and we’ve pictures of grinning children draped in python, or holding tarantulas, chameleons and other non-native species. Your comment about appreciating the things you had instead of resenting the loss of them is such a good example! โค ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aw, thanks so much, Trish. No point in whining (or whinging, if I’m in your part of the world) over times gone by. We can’t change any of them, but we can surely focus on remembering the good ones and how much fun we had. So that’s what I try to do, and my days with Audubon and the Zoo were among my best, along with all the camping and canoeing trips.

      And good for your grandsons! Nothing more entertaining than wildlife, though I would have definitely skipped the tarantula. (Even I have my limits! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ) Snakes, chameleons, alligators, turtles, birds of all kinds … YEP! Hairy-legged spiders? NOPE!

      So glad you enjoyed the post, and I really appreciate your taking the time to let me know. ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Well, look at you! You were so cute and l love all that hair. I used to spend a ton of money and time getting mine curly like that. Before I took up writing I used to teach English as a second language to foreign students, sew my own clothes, look after my children, oh – and work full time. Busy days but good times too.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. What fun! I loved the pictures, and all that background. How cool to be a docent at the zoo. I love how adventurous you were. Your love of wildlife and the outdoors still shines through.

    My hubby and I used to love to fish and crab. We had boats for decades. I have memories of many long weekends spent on saltwater bays. We also did a lot of freshwater fishing later on. Those were good days. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Mae! So glad you enjoyed the post, and thanks for sharing a bit about what you used to love doing. I was raised with a fishing pole in my hand. (Usually a cane pole, though I knew how to cast with a rod & reel, too). We used to fish in both fresh and salt water, but mostly from the shoreline or a dock or pier. They were fun family outings, with a delicious meal of fresh fish to follow. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Thanks so much for stopping by and taking a moment to say hello. ALWAYS great to see you! ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much, Jan! That photo always reminds me of the fun times we had camping, especially in the Ocala Forest. That particular trip was really a good one, and we enjoyed ourselves hugely. So glad you could pick up on that, and thanks for stopping by today and taking a moment to say hello. Have a great rest of your week! ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

      Liked by 2 people

  5. This was a terrific post, Marcia. It is fun to look back and remember the good times and what we did before this racket. Since I graduated from Michigan State University I had to look away when that photo came up of you wearing the University of Michigan t-shirt.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha! I wondered if anyone would notice that shirt, John. I did NOT go to that university (or any other), and though I’ve tried to remember where I got the shirt, I really don’t. I know I wore it often as it was super soft and comfortable, and lightweight enough that I could wear it on hot days.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post. It was a fun trip down Memory Lane for me, and makes me wish I were still a docent at the zoo. You know, that’s actually something I could probably still do. (But NOT in the summertime! Urk!)

      Thanks for stopping by and taking a moment to say hi! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Your smile then and now says it all Marcia. What a great lady you are!
    Before COVID and writing I use to belong to a gym and workout, do yoga and play Pickleball. Now I just mainly stick to walking but know I should join again.

    Liked by 2 people

    • What a nice thing to say, Wendy! Thanks so much, and thanks also for sharing the things you loved doing before COVID and writing. (COVID has made a mess for MANY of us, writers or not, that’s for sure.) I hope you can figure out a way to get back to some of what you enjoyed (and which were good for you) before you started writing. Good luck!

      I appreciate your stopping by today, too! ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi, Marcia, I did enjoy this post, especially the photos. Many moons ago, I dated a guy who had an Indian python. It was a magnificent creature, though only five feet long as it wasn’t very old. We were punk rockers back then, and we used to throw our leather jackets down on the sofa and the python would always curl up in them when we let him out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I always wanted a pet snake, Liza, but no one I ever lived with would let me get one, including my husbands, both past and present. Urk. But then I realized I enjoyed them in the wild just as much, so it’s all good.

      Glad you enjoyed the post, and I appreciate your stopping by to let me know. Thanks! ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is great! What did I do? I wish I could say I have a glamorous answer, but the truth is I threw myself into my career. There are so many children who need help, and unfortunately, too many didn’t have the stable upbringing I had. Throw in trying to be a good husband, father, and friend, which didn’t leave much time to take care of myselfโ€”in retrospect, a mistake. If I could do it all over again (and I would), I’d pay more attention to my needs.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Great advice, Pete. Our best intentions can’t be realized if we’re falling apart ourselves. That’s so important to remember, but so very easy to forget!

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment! And here’s to some great progress on your writing in the days and weeks ahead! Go for it! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 2 people

    • I think many, if not most, of us had big hair in the 80s, Priscilla. It was like a law or something! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Oh, I’ll bet coaching a swim team was a lot of fun, though it does sound like a lot of work, also. Thanks so much for sharing that with us, and for stopping by today! Have a great Wodin’s Day! ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What wonderful photos and memories!! I shudder to think of holding a snake, but maybe with you at my side, I MIGHT try to. The only snakes I encountered when young were rattlesnakes, and fear of them led to fear of all snakes. But, they are God’s creatures–maybe. Sending a big hug. ๐Ÿค—

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you enjoyed my pictures and memories, Gwen. Thanks for letting me know. As for snakes, I’m not surprised at your fear. It’s one of the most common things people are afraid of, usually unnecessarily. Snakes have had to make all kinds of adaptations in order to survive legless in a very LEGGED world, and venom is but one.

      If it helps, snakes are hugely important in the environment, and they do NOT like to waste their venom on anything they can’t then eat. If there’s a way to avoid doing so, they will happily take it, or else they are likely to end up going hungry for a while after their venom sacs are depleted on a creature they can’t swallow. In other words, if a venomous snake isn’t cornered and/or being beaten with a stick, it will almost always choose to “get out of Dodge.” So my general advice to those who run into them is to BACK AWAY SLOWLY, and allow the snake the chance to leave.

      There. That’s my wildlife talk of the day! ๐Ÿ˜

      Glad you enjoyed the post (other than the legless guy) and thanks so much for stopping by today, Gwen! I really appreciate it. Here’s to a great rest of the week and to MUCH success with your new book! ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿค—


      • I didn’t know that about venomous snakes, but it makes sense. I almost, sort of, feel a bit of empathy for them now. ๐Ÿ˜„ You’re a wonderful teacher, Marcia, and if I lived closer, I’d definitely be in your nature classroom. ๐Ÿค—

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ooooh, I’d love that SO much, Gwen. Sharing a bit about wildlife with others is my second favorite thing in the whole world (next to writing, of course). And my most popular program is “For Goodness Snakes!” People are always curious about them, even if they don’t like them.

          Plus, I have a sure-fire, IMMEDIATE method of recognizing the four venomous species we have in Florida at a glance. (No need to try to memorize rhymes or the like, either.) My theory is that not everyone is going to love snakes like I do, BUT if they see one and can tell right away that it can’t hurt them, at least they don’t have to have a heart attack on the spot. ๐Ÿ˜€

          Come on down! I’ll let you into the talks for free. (Like everyone else. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚)


  10. So fun to read a guest post with you as the guest! Great pics, Marcia. I love seeing you with the snake, and on the trail with a backpack. What wonderful adventures. It’s great to look at photos and remember those times. Share more when you get a chance. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw, thanks so much for such a nice comment, Jackie! I’m really glad you enjoyed the post (though I have to wonder why we ever thought Big Hair was so cool!) and I’m especially glad that you think I still maintain a young (ish) outlook on life. I do believe in filling every possible moment with interesting, fun, and otherwise worthwhile endeavors, for sure. There might be a few more posts from my “days of yore” now and then. We’ll see. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Thanks so much for stopping by for this one, and taking a moment to say hello! ๐Ÿ˜€ โค Safe travels, my friend! โค๏ธ

      Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you enjoyed the post, Sue! And yep … the 80s were only 10 years ago–plus 30 or so more, but who’s counting? ๐Ÿ˜

      I suspect I’ll do a couple more post from the Days of Yore now and then. We’ll see what I can come up with. And thanks for stopping by today to say hello ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

      Liked by 1 person

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