Dad Would Be So Proud
I was thinking of my Dad today as we watched the Perseverance landing on Mars. I signed up last summer when it launched to have my name, my husband's and my Dad's on the craft along with millions of other people.
Dad passed away in 2014 but he always wished he could go to space. He was fascinated with the universe, with space flight. He remembered seeing Sputnik and that spurred a life long dream. He became a pilot. That was as close as he could get. If not for health problems he might have made it further from Earth.
He was a dreamer but also a doer. He was well versed in physics, math and became an aircraft mechanic. He was lead mechanic for the largest airline in Alaska long before I was around. Following medical retirement he resurrected the lodge in an old copper mining town in Alaska. Then moved even further into the bush where I grew up on our homestead in the mountains in the middle of the largest National Park in the U.S.
We had solar power, wind power, a saw mill to cut our own lumber to build. We mined for gold and created huge organic gardens and greenhouses that supplied much of our food.
Though we lived over 300 miles from a city and nearly 100 miles from a paved road, my childhood was not lacking for education or culture. His massive antennae system allowed us to capture radio waves from around the world. I grew up in a cabin in Alaska listening to BBC, NPR and classical music as well as local radio. He had subscriptions to magazines ranging from TIME to Popular Science, Smithsonian and National Geographic.
Mom did most of my homeschooling and helped me order books from the library that would be delivered by mail plane. It was the best day in weeks when a new batch of books came in. We had to travel by snow machine, dog team or airplane to go pick up the mail.
I was exposed to people from around the world who came to stay with us to experience Alaska in exchange for help on the homestead. I remember a Swiss physicist, a French chef and great people from New Zealand, Britain, Germany and the Czech Republic.
I truly believe I was better educated than many kids my age. I had no TV, no internet and no phone until later.
I did home school until high school when we moved to town during the winters.
Dad invented a number of great things like a 12 volt refrigerator that ran off the solar system and a solar powered water pump that supplied our water from the spring. We had a redwood hot tub inside the attached greenhouse that kept the plants warm all winter.
My love of learning was certainly inspired by my parents. Dad was always learning something new. Whether it was astro-psychics, composting, keeping earthworms or learning the stock market in his later years, he never stopped. Mom is an avid reader and carries on the torch of keeping up with politics, investments, news and science. We often discuss what we read, share articles and she still corrects my grammer and spelling!
Dad would have been thrilled to know his name is on the Perseverance on Mars today!
His entrepreneurial spirit allowed him to make a wonderful life in a way no one ever had before. It is because of that life that I think about things the way I do. It allowed me to see the world a little differently than most and see possibilities around every corner.
I know there are paths that don't fit the mold. However, for all his unconventional ways, Dad was actually very old-fashioned. He believed in hard work, being humble, being honest and taking care of your family and anyone in need. He put on nice clothes to go to dinner and stood up if a lady walked in a room (even me). He never wore a hat at the table and believed in good manners. He would never scam or short change anyone.
My parent's mix of wild, going against the grain (to leave their conventional lives behind and live in the wilds of Alaska) and also following with the straight and narrow, resulted in me. I dream of being my own boss, don't take orders or suggestions well from others and don't like being on a team. I WILL be my own boss one day. I have to be an entrepreneur . I simply can't imagine life any other way. I need to be free to live away from a city. I miss the open space.
In the meantime however, I learned from my parents to appreciate and do well in the system we are in. I learned the value of putting money into retirement at a young age. I started investing as a teenager when they would pay me for my labor in the summer and help me invest the money.
I went on to get a job in State Government as a Natural Resource Specialist after working for oil and gas companies. I have worked for my state for 12 years now so I have some money invested that can continue to grow. I completed multiple degrees in school, and got scholarship all the way. I followed the rules while also learning how to be my own boss. That is why I am at WA. I love that I can learn to build a successful business in any niche I want while still earning retirement and getting paid leave.
I will not follow just one path. I will follow a path of many branches. My husband and I also own and manage rental property (another thing I learned from Mom and Dad). We currently own a 4-plex and also manage a 6-plex for Mom. With my husband's VA Loan we were able to purchase this building with zero down. Having State jobs meant we were a good risk to the lenders with stable income and retirement accounts that counted as the reserves. Buying a multiplex with the VA Loan is an option for many coming out of the military but few take advantage of it. Most buy a single family house. Lucky for me my husband is a dreamer too.
There are many opportunities out there (like starting your own website business) but you have to be open-minded to see them and also careful to avoid the scams. I have to admit WA was not the first program I tried. It will be the last however!
Dad would be proud.