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I Was Going to Be a Nun (and other failed plans)


Kris WolfeClarksville, TN – When I was 12 I learned about nuns. I learned just enough to know that they spent a lot of time reading and doing chores. For some reason, the same girl who loved rap music and collected scrunchies was drawn to the quiet convent life devoid of thrills and Bath and Bodyworks.

Knowing basically nothing about religion though may have caused a bit of a wrinkle: I wasn’t even Catholic.

It’s crazy the things we think we could be, the direction we could have gone, the dreams or harebrained ideas we could have pursued, but didn’t.

At one point I wanted to be an artist, maybe in advertising. I can’t watch Mad Men without picturing myself as Peggy Olsen or even Donald Draper, in charge of “creative.”

I also dreamed of going to Boston for college. I have never been further north than Ohio, but Boston stole my heart in my mind at least.

I chose Austin Peay instead. There was my boyfriend to consider, who later became my husband (and eventually my ex-husband), and then there was the rational reason of in-state tuition. “In-state tuition”: say it out loud; doesn’t it just scream adventure? Yep.

I was at the public pool with the kids the other day. It began sprinkling so I moved my chair, Kindle and blanket-sized towel under the overhang, just feet from two college-age lifeguards talking about life.

One very baritone fella, sounding much older than he appeared was advising his slightly younger cohort in money management, selecting a career and where to live during college. He had it all figured out: live at home, save that dough, take a safe job, and set it on cruise control. He is exactly the kind of guy I would have liked at 18 (Just 6 years after contemplating the “veil”.)

But more than 20 years have passed, and I have made a million safe choices, and a couple of thousand of kind of dopey ones. While I am not suggesting young people abandon all logic or sound advice and run naked through Rome, I am going to tell you emphatically: take risks.

Playing it safe has its merit of course, but always walking the narrow path will keep you from seeing and doing some incredible things. It may also keep you from being an incredible person.

Here are a few things I wish I had done:

  1. Learned Japanese and kept up with learning Spanish, and used it.
  2. Lived in another country and loved a foreign man who could only pantomime his love for me.
  3. Did something truly dangerous like jump out of a plane or dive with sharks. There is a bit of foolishness that comes with youth. I wish I had put it to good use.
  4. Celebrated the New Year in Tim Square in a mini-dress in sub zero temperatures and danced way too late into the night.
  5. Talked to a nun, an ad executive, a novelist, a soldier, a stay at home mom, or anyone else that lived an interesting life and asked a ton of questions, followed them around, and tried on their “shoes” if reality permitted.

“Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.”   Oprah Winfrey

Bucket lists aren’t just for people who are middle-aged and beyond. There is no better time to start finding out who you are than now. God has a plan for you, but you aren’t going to find it hiding in your safe place. Risk precedes joy!

About Kris Wolfe

    Kris Wolfe

    Kris Wolfe is a Christian, wife and mother. Kris is a freelance writer who focuses on spiritual and practical encouragement. Kris also writes lessons for small group purposes for churches and is a small group coach.  Kris has a master’s degree in Biblical Counseling from Luther Rice University and Seminary and is a listed TN Supreme Court Rule 31 Mediator.

    Kris covers topics such as dating, marriage, parenting, divorce, post-divorce recovery, and the blended family.

    Read more from Kris Wolfe at or follow on Twitter @MrsKrisWolfe

    Web Site:




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