This Merry-Go-Round Called Life

Any of you who have been following me for a while know that I do a lot of pondering on the meaning of my life and the meaning of life in general.

Recently, I have been feeling like this existence is just a merry-go-round…. get up, make the donuts… you know how it goes (if you don’t get the reference, it’s from a Dunkin’ Donuts commercial in the ’80s).


I follow this 22-year-old photographer, @manueldietrichphotography on Instagram.  He shares spectacular photos.  He also has a Youtube channel where he sometimes shares edits from the trips.  On Saturday, I watched this particular video (3 min):

The speech is by Alan Watts.

It made me question so many of the things I seek.

To wonder what I’m chasing.

To wonder what I’m sending my children out to chase.


The next day, yesterday, my Great Aunt Wilma passed away.

Death always seems to make me reflect even more on life.


My grandma, Reva VanHoose Scott on the left, and my great aunt, Wilma VanHoose Bernier on the right.

No one is actually dead until the ripples they caused in the world die away. -Terry Pratchett


My Great Grandpa VanHoose, Great Grandma Ann and the four daughters they had together (they divorced and had other children through remarriage). This was a reunion of sorts. L-R: Alma, Wilma, Frances, and Reva.

Once when one of my children was little, they said: “What if we are all just a part of someone’s dream?”


Deep thoughts.

In an effort to live simply and move toward more of a minimalistic style, I have become less attached to “stuff”.

But sometimes, I keep things to which I have a strong attachment.

Those earrings were my grandmother’s.  They make me smile every time I wear them.

The necklace that I have wrapped as a bracelet is made of cedar (juniper) beads.  Purchased from a Native American roadside stand on my honeymoon in Arizona. They are meant to keep away nightmares.  I had terrible nightmares. They have finally become less frequent. These beads didn’t stop them, but I also don’t wear necklaces to bed (I have an irrational fear of them choking me).  I also hung them over the bed of the child who had night terrors as a toddler.  It is a special piece of jewelry to me.

And then the blanket.

I’ve carried this blanket with me from home to home.  I have owned it for 39 years.

A gift as an infant.

From my Aunt Wilma and her husband, Roger.


Four sisters fishing in Naples, FL. : L-R: Alma, Frances, Reva, and Wilma

I always called it my Roger blanket and loved it so much.  Once, when I was an older girl, not yet a teen, I asked my mother why I called it my Roger blanket.  I thought perhaps it was because I watched Mr. Roger’s neighborhood and decided to name it after the show. I thought that would be an odd thing, but I was clueless as to why I called it that.

My mom told me that it was because it was from my Aunt Wilma and Uncle Roger and I must have picked up on the last name mentioned. When I was 3, my Aunt Wilma and Uncle Roger were visiting some family along with us.  My mom told me that was my Uncle Roger who I had named my blanket after.  As he walked away, I said: “there goes my best friend”.

My mom still laughs when she remembers that story.  I’m sure it’s because she can envision exactly how I said it.

Isn’t that a great thing about memories?  I have so many memories of my own children and something they said or did that makes me smile, shed a tear, or laugh out loud.

I like to think I just recognized a good soul when I met one.  He doted on my Aunt Wilma and loved her strongly.  They were such kind-hearted people.


When I was 16 and graduating from high school, I had no idea what type of career I might pursue.  One that I considered was an accountant.

My Aunt Wilma and Uncle Roger had a friend who was an accountant and they arranged for me to spend a day shadowing him.  I remember at one point he needed to take a meeting and I spent some time with another gentleman in the practice.

The one thing that other man said that I’ll never forget was that he loved what he did.  He never wanted to retire. That you see people out on the golf course all day and that would never be him (this was in Naples, the land of the snowbirds, who come down to play golf {and enjoy the sunshine} after they retire).

I knew that I wanted to have that type of passion about whatever I pursued.

Aunt Wilma with her fish haul

Are we supposed to follow “traditional” paths?

To chase dollars or prestige?

Should we send our kids to chase those things?

What if their path is not a straight line?

What if mine is not?

Do we keep doing the same thing just because it’s what we’ve always done?

Is our time better spent creating memories and seeking joy?

Finding those things that make our souls sing?

The merry-go-round will stop.

Maybe not today.

Or tomorrow.

Will it be because you chose to get off?

Or because you have no time left to make a choice?

The powerful play goes on and you will contribute a verse. -Walt Whitman

Let your light shine!



23 thoughts on “This Merry-Go-Round Called Life

    1. I love music. I have no wonderful singing voice 🙂 My dad learned to play a guitar by ear. He and my mother would sing while he played.
      I never had the patience to learn more than the intro to Black Sabbath’s Ironman on his electric guitar.
      When I became pregnant with my firstborn, I wanted to learn to play. My parents got me that guitar for Christmas, a few months before he was born.
      I was busy raising babies and it’s mostly just sat. I know a few chords, but just barely 🙂
      It reminds me of my family and growing up…. and waits patiently for me come back to it.

  1. Thanks for sharing that! I love music and have pondered at various times what my life would have been if I had made a career of it… But I formed a band shortly before I retired and had a great few years with that, and a few years ago I took piano lessons and bass guitar lessons, and drum lessons… and yet I stick with my guitar for the real expression thru music of what is in my heart and soul…

  2. Yes Amy we are all in this merry-go-round called life, life is eternal and it goes and comes in one life form or another and then we seem to do the same thing time after time and Never learn to loveGod. God is love God is all there is in the garden you in the garden me in the garden everybody is what we really should recognize And in so doing we recognize that we are not separate from John or anyone else love is the key now and forever and awakening to your wonders where is God is all there is and everyone else of course But back to thinking I’ve been around a long and everybody I know and love keeps dying but I know I’ll see them again in the spiritual relhm before we start another drama in this merry-go-round called life which as I said is eternal as it is God, keep thinking love you John Wallen

  3. Sorry for your loss Amy. Losing someone close always has an impact and makes us question the bigger picture. I also find a bit of solace in my guitar but mostly it’s my writing that helps. Wishing you well and sending hugs xo

  4. I’m so sorry for your loss. Hoping you’ll find comfort in that very special blanket, as it ensures you’ll always have a piece of your Aunt Wilma with you.

  5. I’m so sorry for your loss, Amy. Your Great Aunt Wilma left a big imprint on you and you’re continuing to feel those ripples from her life in your’s. It sounds like you have wonderful memories to cherish <3

    1. Thank you Joanne. My Great Aunt Wilma did leave a big imprint. She and her sisters were and are larger than life 🙂 They took what the world threw at them and just smiled and kept spreading joy.

  6. Wow, that’s a hard time, pondering life after death. I react similarly.
    I really like what you wrote about the things we chase, and should you encourage your children to chase same? I had a long chat about that earlier today. When did it become that every child was meant for fame and fortune and utmost exceptionalism? When did that become the goal of parenting? Can children even enjoy their childhoods now? Can parents feel satisfied merely to have another day to love a child with a good heart and a life of passions? Seems this is less desirable now than it used to be.
    But when we lose people, it’s not their status or their belongings we miss, it’s their essence, their presence, the bold display of their passions…and yes, those ripple for a long time after — sometimes generations. It sounds like your life has been touched by remarkable women and the world is better for it.

    1. I think death makes you realize there is finite time and are you making the best you can of it.
      I’m not sure when all that happened with parenting and childhood lost to this striving. More than fame or fortune, I want them to live a life they love.
      It’s so true that we know what we miss when a person leaves this earth, and yet so often what is promoted in the world is glory of self over love & time spent with others.
      I have had some remarkable women in my life. They have faced challenges I can’t begin to imagine, but never let that dull their spark or their smile. I only hope that maintain their exuberance for life as I age 🙂

  7. When life is called a merry go-round, the one who says it, is probably bored of the life they are leading. My life has not felt at all like that. But if it was, no regrets! The past is the past, and we can only change the present and the future.
    Death is part of life, for it is the body that dies, our spirit goes to heaven (hopefully not to hell), so it’s important we figure out that part before we die.
    Me thinks not what one chases is important as much as, that one chases “something” in life that is worthwhile – whether it is the arts,economy (business), leadership, helping people, etc.

    The meaning of life is in who you are, in the world (fam, friends, etc.) you live, and what you do to make your life meaningful. Anything you experience is significant, if you see the worth of it. Some keep looking for one big thing in life called “meaning” but meaning can be found in hundreds of little things we encounter in life.
    No matter what, your life is meaningful, Amy. Your husband and children are part of it. There is nothing that keeps you from chasing life with all the energy you have! If it’s music, go after it!
    If it’s something else. move towards it:):)
    Hope this helps in some of your ponderings …

    1. I agree that things that are worthwhile should be chased.
      It’s important to me that my children know that. If fame and fortune, come to them, that’s great, but more importantly, is loving the life they have chosen.
      Thank you for your kind words. 🙂

  8. “Once when one of my children was little, they said “What if we are all just a part of someone’s dream?””

    Sometimes, I think children know far more than adults, today of its already tainted by this harsh world

I'd love to hear your thoughts! Share them here.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.