When life throws you lemons – throw ’em back!

Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.

Nido Qubein

A couple of months ago, I was “retired” from service – like a horse who can no longer pull its load, like  a service animal too old to assist someone, like an outdated trolley.  Signs told me it was coming, but I raged against the machine.  The inevitable hit me.  My lawyer advised me to let it go.  To take this chance to start a new life.  He spoke from experience of many years and clients.  He said, “it will be a long journey and it will be ugly and at the end, you will have gained nothing but some money. What is your priority?  More money or worth of self?  You choose and I will support your decision.”

I decided to let it go.  Worth of self was more important.  I had talked this over with my husband whose heart broke for me.  He agreed.  So, I walked out with my head held high.  I remembered I am onna bugeisha – (女武芸者?): a female warrior or female samurai.  Besides having the typical “housewife” they also diverged from this traditional roles by stepping outside of the housewife role; they were well trained in weapons and fought equally beside their male counterparts.  They protected the honor and safety of their family and others in time of war or time of danger.   My husband reminded me of this in how I had stepped outside of typical female roles and professions associated with women.  That I practiced bushido and no matter what an employer said, there was nothing outmoded, weak, or useless.  He told me I wielded calculus, physics, and engineering with the same expertise I wield my wakizashi to protect not only my family, but the welfare of the people of my state.  My loved one said, so?  They think you are no longer viable as an over 50 infrastructure engineer?  Then dammit, take your money, go back to school, get another certification.  Start a new life.

So…this old warhorse, trolley, watch dog, warrior is starting over.  May 16, I am going back to school.  I find it fortuitous that I start on that date, the date when if my grandmother Ninny had lived, would have been her 104th birthday.  My Ninny was a soft spoken, gentle Southern lady with a spine of pure titanium. My mother, another warrior who stepped outside of the typical female role who worked while my Papa was the “house husband” until I was a teen.  An aunt, another warrior with three  MS degrees and two PhDs.  The middle aunt, a petroleum engineer.  Good examples of doing their dream rather than what society expected.

May 16th – rebirth day!  May 16th – a new start!

Martin Luther said years ago:  “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree”.  Well, I have planted my apple tree.  May 16th, it will blossom.



56 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. FlaHam
    May 05, 2014 @ 21:49:14

    Kanzen, What a great story that is quite insprintional. Thank you, Bill


  2. sheridegrom - From the literary and legislative trenches.
    May 05, 2014 @ 22:09:17

    Kanzen, Obviously you are a strong woman and I applaud you. It takes strength, grit and sheer determination to re-design yourself in the world we live in today. I haven’t a doubt you are going to shine brightly and succeed beyond your wildest dreams. Great post. I want to run sharing your message with every 10 year old girl on the universe. Sheri


  3. writingwingsforyou
    May 05, 2014 @ 22:39:41

    Go female warrior. Loved your title and love how you are owning your life. Sometimes opportunities present themselves in the oddest ways. Enjoy school!


  4. MW Moore
    May 05, 2014 @ 22:43:57

    My father’s family is from the hill country of Kentucky; as close as you can get to 18th century Ireland, and they had a blessing: “May smoke be forever risin’ from your chimny”.
    Roughly translated, if there is smoke, there is a fire in the hearth, such a fire warms the house and heats the meal. If there is a ‘chimny’ there is a house and a roof to keep the fire dry. If there is a house, there is land that the house looks over. There is health in the house for there is strength to gather the kindling, gather the food and family to share it all.
    Wishing you all good things, and may smoke be forever risin’ from your chimny.


  5. glasgowdragonfly
    May 06, 2014 @ 02:04:11

    Good luck for your new path. I enjoyed reading your post having just suffered something similar with an employer following the birth of my daughter. Like you, although annoying and very hard, I have discovered tat the head held high route was well advised and best route to have taken. Being a mum and blogger is much more fun (although not as lucrative!!) 😉


    • kanzensakura
      May 06, 2014 @ 15:56:38

      No it isn’t. Which is why I’m taking a couple of months off to get it together, blog like a wild woman, catch up on housework and then…back to school. Hopefully in this economy, back to work as well. thank you so much for your comment and well wishes. I learned my worth was not tied to a job, but tied to my faith in myself and the examples set for me.


  6. jaklumen
    May 06, 2014 @ 02:04:17

    My undergraduate was a series of metaphorical collisions stretching eight years before I finally crashed out of university (my fourth school). I stumbled through dead-end jobs (not a one of them with a hint towards a career), smashed through welfare-to-work, and finally descended into disability.

    I was born and bred to be domestic, but house husbandry has been tough– I ache to be well enough to be more of a homesteader. I like what I do but groan every time I open a parenting magazine: the assumption is still that only mothers care about the minutia concerning the children.

    All my best with school. Sometimes friends have asked why I don’t go to grad school; it’s taken some a while to realize that isn’t in the cards for me. My undergrad studies were to be a teacher– pity I saw the brokenness in both our grade and higher education schools. I would not go back to that.


  7. smilecalm
    May 06, 2014 @ 02:32:39

    each breath, each moment
    your new possible blossoms 🙂


  8. Sarah
    May 06, 2014 @ 04:19:00

    I went back to school a few years ago and, though it was hard work, I had a blast. 😀 I hope you thoroughly enjoy it.


  9. Let's CUT the Crap!
    May 06, 2014 @ 08:15:02

    You have what it takes lady, and I have no doubt there isn’t anything you put your mind to, you cannot accomplish. Already you have a stack of achievements. Go forth and blossom some more. ~(*_*)~~


  10. machinist
    May 06, 2014 @ 15:57:12

    You are intelligent and disciplined enough to have mastered a difficult field. Throw in your wonderful character and talent and I don’t see how you can help but succeed brilliantly. I do hope you find many unexpected nuggets of joy as you plow these new fields and plant the seeds of your future. ,


  11. BloomLisa
    May 06, 2014 @ 18:18:54

    Your writing has a harmony to it that sings across the page, making it all the more enjoyable. It adds another layer to your connection to these motivating yet painful circumstances. In my experience, they can be the best things that ever happen to us…..in time. Be well new blogger friend!


    • kanzensakura
      May 06, 2014 @ 21:09:48

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I just write what my heart tells me. I wish for everyone second chances that explode with the joy we all deserve. Again, thank you. Take care.


  12. cynt5525
    May 06, 2014 @ 21:20:03

    I love your blog!!! Thank you for liking my art works !!! 🙂 *Cynthia


  13. cynt5525
    May 06, 2014 @ 21:20:28

    Thank You for following my blog !! 🙂


    • kanzensakura
      May 06, 2014 @ 21:25:52

      You are most welcome and thank you for following mine. I looked for the comment area to thank you but couldn’t find it. You have such a lovely blog. I enjoy the artwork muchly.


  14. macjam47
    May 07, 2014 @ 08:47:45

    There is so much strength in your words. My best wishes on your future endeavors. I’ll be checking back for updates as you progress in your new undertaking.


  15. SirenaTales
    May 15, 2014 @ 20:02:30

    Well, alright! YOU go, girl! Sorry I missed this potent piece until just now….sorry for any hurt, but absolutely, you are a warrior. And a dancing one at that. How wonderful to read of the other amazing women in your family! So, tomorrow must be the first day of class–I am sending you much joy and fierceness to shower on your path, my friend. I know you will have a great adventure. Bon voyage, baby! Love, love, love


    • kanzensakura
      May 15, 2014 @ 21:50:59

      Bless you. I am excited and scared. But tonight I will stand on my back steps and sing to the night star…one of my favorite arias from Puccini’s Turandot. I am no singer, but I shall carry this with me as my little round shaking self starts back to school.


  16. Kev
    May 18, 2014 @ 14:27:08

    Found it! 😀


  17. huntmode
    May 22, 2014 @ 01:13:40

    My friend, Bushido warrior, hai! I salute you and your mate for courage, love and wisdom. The first cut of a sword is of the Warrior’s brain and spirit. You are so sharp, Kanzen, they have yet to know they bleed. Love HuntMode


    • kanzensakura
      May 22, 2014 @ 09:54:15

      Hah, they haven’t yet realized their heads are separated from the shoulder, but then, since they only use their heads as wig stands, it may be awhile yet before they see their heads hit the floor. To paraphrase my little mama, it’s a shame the things one sees when one doesn’t have a sword….


      • huntmode
        May 23, 2014 @ 16:00:04

        Oh, I dearly love your Mama!


        • kanzensakura
          May 23, 2014 @ 17:21:58

          Actually, her quote is, it’s a shame the things you see when you don’t have a gun…she is a feisty one. When my grandfather was teaching me to box, because I was so small and some of the kids in the neighborhood picked on me, my papa had a fit at his little grl boxing, my mama inserted herself and gave me hints to fight street smart along with the boxing. If anybody was stupid enough to pick on her baby girl,they might win, but they’d be marked. I get myforge ahead spirit, give no crap, take no crap from her. Even now, at 84 with Parkinson’s and COPD, she’s something else. I love her dearly. I get my crazy Celt from her. Papa was the gentle army sharpshooter and mama was the rock ’em sock ’em accountant.


          • huntmode
            May 23, 2014 @ 17:40:58

            sounds like the perfect match. Being the smallest and the eldest of my group of friends, I learned very quickly ya gotta take ’em down fast. To this day, there are people who will not shake hands with me… Grin.


  18. Lyrical Treasure (@LyricalTreasure)
    May 24, 2014 @ 04:03:00

    To throwing the lemons back, Kanzen. 🙂

    The beauty of life is that it is full of new beginning. Glad you are reinventing yourself.


    • kanzensakura
      May 24, 2014 @ 08:31:10

      Hear! hear! I’ve heard another saying that when life throws you lemons, find someone else with vodka and have a party. To be honest, I was so angry, throwing back the lemons was the most fun and is most rewarding. Thank you for you kind wishes and comment. Date: Sat, 24 May 2014 08:03:01 +0000 To: thspencer51@hotmail.com


  19. lorriebowden
    May 24, 2014 @ 10:56:31

    Wow! Your new journey must be underway…I hope it is all you want it to be! Blessitude


  20. kennymack2
    May 28, 2014 @ 10:12:37

    ANd the blessngs will be at least three fold; admiring the flowers, eating the fruit fresh off the tree and giving some away. There is a fourth if you are so inclined, plant another and prune it to resemble the letter Capital, or upper case “T” then you can just reach up and pick the best tasting apples at arms length, by the Bushel. Now I’m off to the beach.


  21. charlypriest
    Jun 23, 2014 @ 05:30:09

    Hi there Kanzen, good you stopped by my crazy blog, since I´d probably wouldn´t have found you. What an interesting story, and uplifting. Never to late to start a new thing or in my case to re-start writing after almost an 11 year hiatus. So it was inspirational to read this post. Plus If I make friends with you….well, I´ll feel safer. 🙂


    • kanzensakura
      Jun 23, 2014 @ 11:38:48

      🙂 It is never too late to start over or something new. It’s scary at times, true. I’m glad this post inspired you. the quote by Martin Luther is one of my favorites. Even though the world may be falling apart around me, it is still up to me to do what good I can and to hope for a better tomorrow by starting the process today. At least, that’s what the quote means to me.


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