Oh Lawton – I’m Trying.
It’s no secret that I moved to Oklahoma pretty much kicking and screaming. For whatever reason, this move has felt unnatural and the adjustment period more painful. There are many lovely parts of Oklahoma. Unfortunately, Lawton is not one of them. Or if it is, I haven’t been exposed to the right parts yet. I can’t help but feel like I drew the short stick when it comes to places to live. I have friends all over the country (and the world for that matter) soaking up different cultures, exploring beautiful scenery, and learning to adjust outside their comfort zone. I suppose you could argue that I am doing the same but Nascar lovin-, Wal-Mart shoppin’, and overweight belly hangin’ o’er pants isn’t really my scene.
I know I am not being fair to Lawton. There are some pockets of gold and we have met some really nice, true, and honest people. And thank goodness for our church – I would be lost without the congregation. We dove head first into the community – volunteering and meeting the movers and shakers (so to speak). We joined the Y (with two free hours of child care a day!) and enrolled Weston in part-time day care. I’ve explored thrift and antique shops off the beaten path (more on that in a later post) and know my way around town and post without the aid of GPS. In other words, I am trying. I am really trying make my time at Lawton meaningful and purposeful. And avoid getting a tattoo with an eagle waving an American flag.
One of the areas I am struggling with is whether to go back to work (part-time) or not. The little guy is getting older and could really use the interaction with other kids. And I am sitting on a graduate degree with a lot of valuable experience from which an organization could benefit. Despite being somewhat of a large city (97,000), Lawton doesn’t have a lot of higher-education/corporate training (my field) opportunities, due to the workforce being focused on government, manufacturing, and retail trade industries. I’m keeping my eyes open and networking when I can. I know I am lucky that I can afford to be choosy so I want to be sure I don’t waste an opportunity thrown my way. Or wind up on the pole.
Maybe it is because I am scheduled to turn 30 in less than two years but I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the type of life I want to live and the goals I’ve set for myself. I’ve accomplished a fair amount already but still have a long list ahead of me. I’ve lived in many places throughout my 20’s but there are more places I want to live. I became a mom – maybe more children are in the cards for us. I sent a husband off to war twice, and I will send him off again I’m sure (hopefully not before I’m 30!). I’ve made true friends and I’ll make more. I’ve appreciated family and will continue to do so. And (most importantly) I’ve become more comfortable with who I am and happy that I haven’t ended up on a Girls Gone Wild video.
18-year-old Karen and 19-year-old Clay
Life is adventure. And for whatever reason, our current adventure is southwestern Oklahoma. I can guarantee that 18-year-old Karen never would have imagined herself living in Lawton. I keep reminding myself to make the best of our time here and we will have a new adventure soon enough. So I may end up turning 30 in Lawton, OK. If that is the case, 3.2% beer for everyone on me.