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.