I have a story to tell. Mostly because I love telling stories but also because yesterday I announced a major turning point in my life. So come along with me will you? I promise there’s a lesson to be learned.
I am a small town girl born and raised. I went to a high school where my graduating class was less than 200 and everyone in town knew your business. I rode my bike into town and broke my teeth on Big Hunks at the local pool. I went to our tiny grocery store barefooted and sopping wet and came out with Big League Chew Bubble Gum. I was small town.
(In small towns we enjoy lounging around with marshmallows on our eyes for relaxation)
College snuck up on me way too quickly and although I explored out of state options my first love (precious I know) kept me in Colorado.
Fort Collins, Colorado aka Beer City (There are nearly as many breweries in Northern Colorado as there are Starbucks — 23!) became my home. I wore my green and gold school colors with pride, drank a lot of beer, and rode my bike everywhere. You could say life was pretty good.
The end of junior year I wanted more. I knew there was something more. That feeling led me to Nicosia, Cyprus.
A tiny city on a tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean.
My professional self justified this decision by pursuing International Marketing experience. My wanderlust self justified this decision by sitting on the beach, visiting Egypt, Greece, and Italy, eating myself silly, and relishing my daily afternoon siestas.
I came home from said adventure with hair so blond it looked like my head had been dunked in bleach and skin so tan you would’ve assumed I was an orange alien disguised in a 20-something female body.
Flash forward a few years with the professional world looming over me like a dark cloud. I sat in long boardrooms and permanently glued on a plaster smile to impress the many financial firms I was applying to. Everything inside of me felt like this wasn’t it. This path couldn’t be the one for me.
Clearly I was not ready for a cubicle.
Working at the campus career center landed me with the glamorous job of sorting the mail. One day, a bright yellow flier slipped out of the stack and stared me down. Half out of boredom, half out of intrigue, I researched it further. A teaching program. A far step outside of my Finance/Economics nerd kingdom but I trusted myself and took a leap of faith.
After a brief layover summer in L.A where I met a few friendship soul mates…
I ended up in…
I’m almost positive there is no better city after college than Vegas. To say I was living it up was an understatement. My years in Vegas were fast and hard. They were exhilarating, rewarding, and exhausting. I made friendships that I will carry with me forever. I also taught my heart out and left a piece of it behind with the 1st graders in room 111. After two years though my heart told me something else.
Time to go home.
I applied and was accepted to teach at a school that wasn’t even built yet but that I immediately felt a connection to. I found a profession but more than that I found an extended family. Being in Colorado again made me realize how much it is my home.
I have been back for two years now but I’m sure you’ve picked up on a pattern. My heart tells me I have a little more exploring left to do. As I get older this feeling gets less and less noticeable but it is not yet something I can ignore.
So I am off to embark on another few adventures…
Phoenix in a month. (I must’ve been hallucinating when I made that decision)
Photo credit http://www.islands.com
I’m not sure the little small town girl with marshmallows on her eyes would’ve ever imagined the journey that lay ahead of her.
Colorado to Cyprus to LA to Las Vegas to Colorado to Phoenix to New Zealand….
What I do know is that the most important decisions in our lives sometimes can’t be justified in words. People may stare at you dumbfounded when you announce unconventional plans. They may shake their head and say you are giving everything up. To be honest, in the moment you’re not even quite sure why you’re doing them. What I’ve come to realize though is that you have to trust the journey you are on.
The trail never ends unless you stop searching for more.