“Starting Over,” March 6, 2018

How many times in your life have you started over?

You might say we start over every day, and you’d be right in a sense. But I don’t really notice it day by day. It takes something big to shake me up and make me ask: Who will I be now, and how will I live my life?

The first time I started over was the year my parents split up. I was 2, and have little memory of it. But it gave me my first taste of a truth I’ve since learned to treasure: Loss is hard to bear, but it also brings gifts.

The loss of my parents’ marriage allowed me to be closer to my grandparents. They made sure I had all I needed in every way. I can’t imagine my life without them.

My second “start over” came when I was 7. We lived with my grandparents in a small town. Thanks to nonstop drama from my mother and her eight sisters,  I lived a life of adventure.

Then my mother remarried and we moved to a cow pasture where my only amusements (besides my brothers who were more bother than fun) were cows. I thought my life was over.

But leaving a life I had loved gave me the gift of new friends, new experiences and a new awareness of who I was. Best of all, it taught me the joy of solitude. How to dream and imagine and think and pray and tell my own stories. How to be alone and at peace in the nurture of Nature, even in the company of cows. It’s a gift every child ought to own. We all need less time with electronics and more time in the wild.

Again, I was blessed. One door closed and another opened and my life didn’t end. Instead, I began a new chapter. I felt that way again when I finished high school; went off to college; moved across country; married and had three children. Every time my life changed in some profound way, I missed what had been, but looked forward to what lay ahead.

The exception was the loss of my first husband, my children’s father, after a lengthy battle with cancer. For a while, I found it hard to think about the future, let alone, to look forward to it. But even a devastating loss can bring gifts. Once again, I was blessed. My children thrived. Our lives moved forward. And in time, I remarried and began a new chapter in an interesting place called Las Vegas.

My sister likes to tell people that I moved to Vegas to work as an exotic dancer in a club for senior citizens. That is not true. We moved to Vegas because my husband took a job there as an editor. I merely write a column at home, in my pajamas.

For 12 years, we have loved the Vegas chapter of our lives. Sunsets we’ve shared. Friends we’ve treasured. Music he has played. Visits we’ve celebrated with family and friends. When we left California, we had no grandchildren and our grown kids loved visiting us in Vegas. Now, as of last count, we have six grandkids, ages 7 to 1. They are growing up faster than I can slather Biofreeze. And my husband retired two years ago.

And so, we have decided once again to start over. Slowly, in the next few months, we plan to leave the desert of Nevada and move back to the coast of California, to family and friends and a nearly 100-year-old house where I raised my children and lived several chapters of my life.

Just when you think you’ve done it all, God laughs and says, “Time to start a new chapter.”

Who will I be now? The same person I’ve been: Wife, mother, nana, writer … a woman who means well, though at times, could use better sense.

How will I live? Not so differently. I’ll spend less time sleeping late and more time wrestling little people. And instead of floating in a pool listening to coyotes, I’ll bundle up at the beach, listening to sea lions and foghorns and surf.

It will be an adventure. I’m looking forward to it. I hope you’ll come along for the ride.


  1. Good for you and Mark! I’m not surprised, though, Sharon. You deserve this homecoming. Neva and I wish you the very best. And, yes, we’ll be watching you through your marvelous words.
    Grace and peace,
    Bruce & Neva

  2. Kate Sciacca says

    Excellent! You have a place to go to… such a blessing. Of course, had you been living in the “real Nevada” it might have been quite difficult to head west again ?. But to leave Vegas? Not a problem ?

  3. Sharon Starns says

    I, too, moved to Las Vegas BGK (before grand kids) but I moved back to Cali after only four years, when my father passed away. Seven years later, we spread both parents ashes in the waters off of Lover’s Point. It’s a very special place for me…

  4. Anne Wheelis says

    Welcome back! I was always afraid that I would see a “For Sale” sign in front of that blue house with the Bay Window and Bird Bath.

  5. Donna McClure says

    Just read your column, I lost my husband Jan 4 of this year and I’m starting my life all over again. You are so right Big changes mean start of a new chapter, not the end of the book. Thank you for helping me realize that. We were married 40 years and I’m 70 turning 71 this year and moving closer to my daughter, husband, grandson and his new wife as of April 28. Its a wonderful world.

  6. New Reader of your column, very interesting, keep up good work.

  7. Moving from Nevada- “Of all places”. We’ll all follow you!

  8. It took me one week to catch up reading wonderful post of my loving writer who does her job so well. Yes, you started over two years ago with new columns with new newspapers.
    Oh, I was not finding any other book or column to read. Thank God you came back. Lot of Love and God bless you and family !!

  9. James W Peterson says

    Ms. Randall,
    I have secretly hoped that the movement of time would place you once again in a part of the world which I love but do not live in. I look forward to reading what you will be able to see from your bay window. When I visit your part of the world maybe we could do breakfast at Rosine’s.

  10. John Waters says

    We already miss Mark in the band and we’re for sure going to miss some of your “exotic” dance moves on the dance floor! 😉 All the best to the best!

  11. Wishing you and your family the very best and looking forward to more stories!

  12. So happy for you! ❤️

  13. Terri West says

    Sharon, can’t wait to read about this new “ride/adventure”. Enjoy you column so much in the Independence Examiner, independence, Missouri.

  14. Best wishes on your next adventure. A

  15. Good news, indeed!

    Just in case you wondered if it might be less exciting for them to see you more often, our grands have lived less than 10 minutes from us their entire lives and their little eyes light up EVERYTIME we see them, which can be several times a week if it is a sports season. They have been to Disney World and have declared that Maw and Paw’s house is still the best place on earth! We do not take a minute for granted.

  16. Linda Kantowski says


  17. Oh goodie! Can’t wait to see you. Mark too. I need a good reason to get out of my jammies! Lunch at Red House? Music at Nick’s?

  18. Kathy Pitman says

    I am so happy for you!! How thrilling to be back home with the grandchildren!

  19. Pacific Grove is one of our favorite spots in the world. We are fortunate to spend birthdays and anniversaries there often. Welcome back to your beloved home on the coast of California!

  20. Welcome home to our very special place on earth!

  21. H-o-m-e…it has a nice ring! You’ll be here just in time for the summer f-o-g…our coastal air conditioner…Congratulations‼️ ❤️?

  22. Marilyn Nelson says

    How exciting! I won’t be next door but I will be across town. Hopefully, the new beginning will also have the comfort and serenity of your cozy pajamas

  23. Can’t wait to read about your adventures in your new “old” place.

  24. Jeanne Schultz says

    Oh, this is awesome. I’ve been a widow for 4 years now and I definitely want to remarry one day. This gives me so much hope! As a Californian, I say, “welcome back!”

  25. Davey & Dan says

    WOOHOOHOO!!! Our part of the world will be a better place with you and Mark back in it. Hurray for us! XOXO

  26. I’m so happy for you, I’m sure your family is thrilled!! Enjoy !


    Welcome home, Sharon.
    One statement you made really struck me. You, wise woman that you are, said, ” We all need less time with electronics and more time in the wild.” So true.

  28. Yippee! Knew this would happen at some point and glad it’ll be soon!
    Love you each! C’est La and Ginny

  29. Beth Heeren says

    Glad you get to move back. I’ll be in Santa Cruz this summer for a family reunion.
    Maybe we can see each other!

  30. Sheri Titcombe says

    You will be closer to those grand babies. What a life.

  31. That sounds wonderful. My children’s closest grandparents are more than 2 hours away. The others are a long day’s drive and a couple states over. I miss having local grandparents for my children. This will be wonderful for your grandchildren!

  32. Terri Blazier says

    How wonderful for you and your family. Enjoy and it will be fun following you along the way.

  33. How wonderful for you and your family! May your blessings continue as we all enjoy hearing about your adventures!

  34. fred hernandez says

    Ah, the chicken comes home to roost. Splendid.

  35. Dick Daniel says

    I am so glad for you. I am sure you will be even more of a blessing to your family. I neve did get used to you living in Las Vegas, of all places. 🙂

  36. Jeanie Anton says

    I’m thrilled that you will be back Sharon. ???

  37. Welcome home! I’ll sit beside you at the beach and interpret what the sea lions are trying to tell us.
    Congratulations on making this choice. You, your kids and your grandkids will all be blessed by it. And I think I will be too. Your ever friend, Joyous

  38. Hurrah! You’re coming home!

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