My Winding and Perpetually Forked Path

I admire people who can manage to do all of the right things in the “correct” order in life:

1.  Graduate from high school

2.  Graduate from college

3.  Land a great job

4.  Marry the man/woman of your dreams

5.  Enjoy a year or two of married life sans children

6.  Own a home

7.  Have a child or two

You get the idea.

Simple, right?  Then, why is my life so different?  I completed steps 1 and 2, and to a certain extent 3.  And that’s where it really starts to get interesting.

I’ve had recent dreams that turn into nightmares when I am once again changing jobs/career paths.  I wake up wondering if this is a sign.  Am I ever going to be happy?  Why can’t I just settle down into one thing and be content?

I have a pretty strong faith.  I am not hugely into material things.  But yet I am a Pisces, a dreamer, thus somewhat “out there”.  What to do….

When I watched the movie Forces of Nature with Sandra Bullock on a somewhat awkward first date during college, I admired her character because while she was adrift and had a messed up life, she was interesting.  Little did I know then that I would someday feel just a little bit like her, sans child.

While I am very Type A, slightly OCD, etc. etc., I am also a very free spirit.  I hate stuffiness and the status quo.

But the point is I love being out of my comfort zone.  I bore easily.  I love challenges.  On the flip side, I hate monotony, worry that I may be perceived as flighty, and easily get annoyed with people.  As two friends recently reminded me, we often become more close minded when we try to be too open minded.

Back to the path:  The winding really began during college.  Freshman year I was too scared to challenge the straight and narrow path.  And then sophomore year happened.  I would never be the same.  Thank God.

I realized I could get a 3.3 GPA when partying a lot.  I learned that the good guys on paper are often terrible dates.  And I began to challenge expectations.  I took the LSAT and knew when walking out of that testing room that I likely wouldn’t be going to law school for at least a few years, if ever.  The results came back, I did well, and that was enough satisfaction.  I proved to myself I could do it if I wanted to.  One catch: the nagging voice saying others would be disappointed in me for not following through.

I was going to double major in political science and journalism, but I opted to minor in journalism.  You see, the political bug bit me.  I was off and running.  Campaign work was my life.  In between political stints I’d dabble in retail.  But I always returned to politics.  Once you get in, it’s nearly impossible to get out.

Until I moved to Houston.  Then I managed a Whataburger, taught preschool, and worked at American Eagle.  I loved the weather and all the big city had to offer, but when returning for my sister’s wedding in July 2006, I realized what the missing piece was:  my family.

So back to Iowa I came.  I worked at Victory Enterprises for three years, was learning the ins and outs of the company.  But it wasn’t where I wanted to stay permanently.  Then to Target HR.  Great company, but I still didn’t have that elusive work-life balance I’d been reaching for during the past year.

I took a part time church lady job and started working my SendOutCards business more actively.  Then Raye from Target Optical bought me Starbucks.  Yes, coffee sucks me in every time.  I told her I’d work 10-15 hours a week at optical.  Five months later, I’m full time.  One month after that, I get a nice new regional assignment.  I love it, but I want to resist it.  I was planning to work my own business full time!

Throughout all of this, I’ve had a few good dates, a few miserable ones.  I have parted with most guys on good terms.  A few of them have married their next girlfriend.

I have met many amazing people.  I have fabulous friends.  I adore my niece and nephew.  I am volunteering more and making time to babysit Gabriel and Lucy one day a week.

While my path is not straight or clear, I am doing my best to enjoy the journey and appreciate the people in my life.

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2 thoughts on “My Winding and Perpetually Forked Path

  1. Why admire people who follow the “correct” path? What is admirable about it?

    Here’s why I ask. I’ve known people who have followed that “correct path” and for the most part, they are boring people who never learned how to think for themselves. The problem is that the “correct” path is all about the destination when in reality, life needs to be about the journey. By following that “correct” path, you are dooming yourself to always be looking at the future without ever enjoying the now.

    1. I do admire people who follow the “correct” path because while some do not feel fulfilled with that choice, others do. I agree it’s about the journey, but the journey is different for everyone, and I do not want to dismiss or disrespect those whose journey is less winding and forked than mine.

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