One of the benefits of hanging out in the middle-aged cheap seats is that you can glance up into the rearview mirror every once in awhile and contemplate where your life has taken an unexpected turn. I recently took a trip back to my college alma mater: Florida State (GO NOLES!). That weekend spent in Tallahassee has had me thinking about all the times over these past years when the decision to turn left or right; to move forward or to stay put; has had lasting consequences.
There have been bends in my road that I never anticipated, but they sure did lead to some extraordinary adventures. For example: attending Florida State University. I had always wanted to attend college in the Northeast; in particular in Washington, DC. When it became clear that the only way I could attend college was to stay in-state, I was crushed. However, looking back I have realized that Florida State was EXACTLY where I was supposed to be.
Attending Florida State led to switching my major to Criminology; which led to a youth position on the Governor’s Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Advisory Committee; which led to a job with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice; which ultimately led to a move to Washington, DC and a job at the Justice Department. All started by a fabulous high school guidance counselor – Barbara Porcher – who believed that this poor kid would make something of herself if she could just figure out how to get to Tallahassee.
I did finally make it all the way to Washington, D.C. – the road was just a bit more curvy than expected.
Are you beginning to see how all of this works? That job at the Justice Department led to my meeting my husband Greg. It was just a random pass in the hallway one December; me getting ready to commute back to Springfield with my son Jimmy (who was attending daycare next door to DOJ) and Greg working late as a contractor.
Four years ago, a decision to trust in the universe, leave my job, and begin independent public policy consulting led to finding the time to do something I’ve always loved: writing. If you had told me back in 2008 that I would be writing and publishing a book in the near future I would have asked you to please pass the tequila!
When I was younger, I thought it was all just a series of coincidences. But lately I’ve been thinking that somehow it’s all part of “the plan.” That’s the beauty of hindsight: you can look back and see how things now make sense and all fit together – even if your life sure did seem to be one big turbulent mess way back when. I’m also re-reading James Redfield’s The Celestine Prophecy which focuses on paying attention to coincidences. I recommend Redfield’s insights for anyone who is interested in a little introspection.
Maybe I’ve been thinking about my life choices lately because my son Jimmy is facing a big decision: where he’s going to attend graduate school. I know that he is going to end up exactly where he is supposed to be. However, that’s not much comfort to him at the moment as he faces a big ‘ol bend in his road. All we can really do is pick our direction and move forward, right?
By the way, a big birthday shout-out to Jimmy who turned twenty-two this week. I love you with all my heart kiddo; and I’m proud of you every day. And, another happy birthday wish to hubby Greg who will be celebrating his birthday next week. I’m forever grateful for that fateful pass in the DOJ hallway all those years ago.
How about you: what have been YOUR bends in the road? Has it been fate, karma, the universe, or something else?
Julieanne Case saysNovember 2, 2012 at 7:55 pm
OH, yes, the bends in the road and the "coincidences". I don't believe in coincidences anymore. I know that everything happens as it should. Now to translate that into watching the present moment and wondering why it isn't panning out the way I'd like it into "It's happening as it should and soon you will see what is just right for you!". It's getting easier until I get stuck in my head.
Always from the heart!
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Kim D saysNovember 2, 2012 at 11:49 pm
Julieanne, I definitely can relate. Especially when tragedies happen, like what is happening right now in NY and NJ, it's hard to understand why. I also get "stuck in my head" all the time.
marquita herald saysNovember 2, 2012 at 7:52 pm
Have you ever been to Maui Kim? There is a road here that goes to the eastern portion of the island and a little town called Hana. The road is just 52 miles long, but has 620 curves and 59 one lane bridges. That pretty much sums up the bends in the road of my life 🙂
Kim D saysNovember 2, 2012 at 8:14 pm
OK, so now I have a reason to head to Maui (truth is, I didn't really need a reason !). That road sounds like a great place to reflect and connect. Thx for stopping by.
Suzie Cheel saysNovember 2, 2012 at 4:29 pm
I have been thinking of rereading The Celestine Prophecy for maybe the 3rd time so I will pull it off the shelf today. Like you I have taken many bends in the road which I think like you have written make ones life more colorful, challenging and ensure we keep growing. great to met you and your blog
Kim D saysNovember 2, 2012 at 8:12 pm
Suzie, have you read any of Redfield's other books? I didn't connect as much with the follow-up to the Celestine Prophecy – The Tenth Insight. How about you?
Kathi Casey saysNovember 2, 2012 at 3:34 pm
Yes, we have all those moments! I remember being devastated by my divorce, but in retrospect, I began a much healthier, more satisfying life post divorce – turns out it was the biggest favor my x ever did for me! And my kids have grown into wonderful, compassionate and loving people through participating fully in life with their single mom!
Kim D saysNovember 2, 2012 at 8:11 pm
Kathi, I cannot imagine you as anything other than a calm, life affirming presence in the lives of your children. Everyone, FYI that Kathi is my go to source for all things healthy of us boomers. Check her out at http://www.kathicaseypilates.com/
Judy Stone-Goldman saysNovember 2, 2012 at 3:07 pm
I connect so much with this post! I often look back on my life and shake my head at the improbably events that have occurred and how the disappointments led to unexpected benefits, how the struggles ultimately laid the way for the victories. How the job I "didn't want" taught me something and how even my regrets have meaning. I have always wondered about some decisions I made, but some of those decisions are what led to my meeting my wonderful husband and having the life I have today. Like many others, I've had so many jobs and experiences, all of which have added up to the "me" that now is living yet another life.
Congratulations on writing your book. I am in the process of a book myself after many, many years of "thinking," "wanting," "fantasizing," but never doing. All those "misses" are part of what led me to now.
Congratulations on the many transitions in your life. Gorgeous picture of you and your son!
Kim D saysNovember 2, 2012 at 8:06 pm
And kudos to you Judy on writing your book. It is SO worth it – just let me know if you ever need any help.
Vicki Dello Joio saysNovember 2, 2012 at 12:01 pm
I love thinking about life unfolds and the twists and turns had led me to where I am now. I found your blog super validating as someone who has deviated many times from the direction I thought I was "supposed" to go in. I especially loved your evocative image of the road and the pic of you and your beautiful boy.
Kim D saysNovember 2, 2012 at 12:55 pm
Vicki, thx for the comment about the pic of me and my son. It's one of my favorites. Can't believe he is now 22. Fun to watch him choosing his path. Thx for stopping by.
Heather Bestel saysNovember 2, 2012 at 11:09 am
What a lovely post. Life can seem confusing at times and then we look back and see that it all makes sense. I believe that we need to have all those experiences to make us the person we are today and that we are exactly where we need to be. Just love the Celestine Prophecy and what jumped out for me was that it's not just about noticing 'coincidences' but acting upon them that moves us forwards. How many times are we given a sign and either don't notice it or choose to ignore it? Thank you for a thought provoking post. Oh, and Happy Birthday to the birthday boy xx
Kim D saysNovember 2, 2012 at 12:53 pm
Heather, you are so right about acting on coincidences. "Signs" are kind of tircky – I keep finding dimes and someone once told me that means someone is trying to reach (call) me. Problem is: what do I do with this?? Or am I just being crazy Irish (as usual).
Michelle Vandepas saysNovember 2, 2012 at 10:11 am
Like many of us I've been a restaurant owner, homeopathic and in Bio-Medical Device manufacturing. Now I'm a marketing expert working with small businesses to quit spending money to market and use their own purpose and passions to market. It's a journey and all points the same way
Kim D saysNovember 2, 2012 at 12:50 pm
Wow Michelle – you've had an interesting path! Thx for stopping by.