i paint i write

Live boldly, laugh and make art

Is your life what you imaged it to be when you graduated from high school?

Is your life what you imagined it after graduation?

Pamela Fernuik’s graduation, Mount Royal Collegiate, May, 20th, 1976, 8:00 p.m.

Right now, your life is a certain way.

You may be five pounds over your ideal weight, or you might be sixty-four pounds over your ideal weight.

Your bank account may have a number in it followed by many zeroes, or it might be a zero or a negative number.

You may be single, happily married, unhappily married, or divorced.

Your life might not be what you imagined it to be when you graduated from high school.

When I graduated from high school in 1976, I thought I would be a painter, but I went and studied teaching. Then I switched majors and went to art school. Moved to Japan from Canada, then moved to The United States, married an American, had three children, and lived in The United States for the past 23 years as a resident alien.

I didn’t think I would have four miscarriages, debt, and live so far away from my brother and mother that it would take me six days to drive home.

There are some things in your  life you can’t change, and some things you can. 

You can pay off debt and be careful with your purchases. Do you really need a new Christmas dress? Wear last years dress. Wear last years suit.

You can eat less  and go for a walk. Start by walking to the end of your driveway.

I am married. I use to be single. When we were first married we went to a marriage counselor and asked if we should have married, and should we stay married.

What is your life like now? Is there something  you can change?

You can’t change everything.

But there is one thing you can always change. Your attitude.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

–Reinhold Niebuhr

Some days I don’t want to change my attitude. It is easier for me to whine and complain than it is for me to be grateful, and change my attitude.

Would you rather whine than change your attitude?

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.
― Cicero

My life is not what I imagined it when I graduated from high school in 1976. But, I am thankful for what I have.

I am grateful that my husband Nick and I met, that he asked me to marry him, and that we are still married.

I am thankful for our three children and for our health. I am thankful my skin cancer was stage O when they found it last year. I am thankful for my writing friends I met through Tribe Writers, and I am thankful for the friends I have met in all the places I have lived, and for my friends in Pennsylvania.

I am thankful that I am painting now.

Just because I haven’t done something yet, doesn’t mean I still can’t.

One of the things I am most grateful for, is that hair grows. The day before graduation in 1976, on May 9th, I trimmed my hair and ended up giving myself a mullet.

Pamela Fernuik Hodges graduation picture 1976

What are you grateful for? Can you think of one thing? Can you think of ten things? Please tell me in the comments.

p.s. I am grateful my toys are coming alive at midnight in the month of December. Life is an adventure. You can follow the toys adventure on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/toycember.

The toys went outside to play at midnight.My toys had a snowball fight. Girls against the boys.




About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • Teresa Richardson

    I was going to be a music teacher after I graduated high school. I spent 2 years in college to find out I was not meant to be a music teacher. I got married, had 2 children, got divorced, got remarried, started working in the hospitality industry as desk clerk and night auditor. Got divorced again, moved from VA to TX, got married again to my soulmate.
    I am grateful for my salvation, my husband, the 32 years I got to share with my daughter, my son, my 3 grandsons.

  • La McCoy

    What a lovely young thing!

  • Wow, Pamela! You haven’t aged a bit. I would have guessed you were born in1976 not graduating. I need to start eating more sardines! 🙂

    • Oh, Anastacia,
      You are so kind. Doesn’t the gray hair make me look older?
      And now you have a reason to eat sardines!

  • Christa Sterken

    I so enjoyed your memories, your story. Nothing I dreamed of in high school has come to pass. And in retrospect, I am so thankful

    • Thank you Christa,
      I am so curious to know what you thought would happen after high school. And so thankful you are content with your life now. Life is an adventure, and sometimes the ride takes us to places and galaxies that we could never imagine.

      • Christa Sterken

        I dreamt of being a fashion designer among other things. My kids laugh now since I am often in sweats and shop at Goodwill. They don’t understand that money goes to kids and family first, etc.
        My sense of value and self might have resulted in becoming a woman very unlike who I strive to be today. Being a mom, a homeschooling mom at that, wasn’t on my radar. I couldn’t afford the design school, so since I left home at 17, right after graduating, I worked full time and took night classes until I became a mom. Then, for me, my dream job was born

  • I bet you could still wear that red dress, Pamela! Wonderful memories. I never dreamed of the things my life would entail, of the places I would live, and the people I would meet. Failures and accomplishments are woven throughout, but the greatest success is loving my husband more than I could imagine. I love being at peace with who we are (for the two shall become one) and where we are in life.

    • Hello Shelley,
      You sound so content in your life, in what you have done and in your marriage. A wonderful place to be.
      I no longer have the red dress, but I did wear a red dress to the Christmas party on Saturday. 🙂

      • Yes! And you wore it well! (oh, oh. I’m also addicted to exclamations marks)