It was twenty-nine years ago and I was months away from graduating high school.
Yes...twenty-nine years ago. I'll just do the math for you and tell you I'm 47. Now that we've got that covered...let's move on.
Where was I? Oh yes...months away from graduating high school.
The world was a blank slate before me. There were so many things I could do with my life. The possibilities were almost endless.
Except for one...small...thing.
I had NO IDEA what I wanted to do with my life! No only that, but my confidence and self-esteem was less than stellar. I was absolutely TERRIFIED and the fact that it was made very clear to me that no one wanted me to leave home...even for college...only made it worse.
Oh sure...I had thoughts of what I wanted to be when I "grew up." The top two were veterinarian or photographer with photographer taking the lead. However, it seemed when I spoke of these things rather than being encouraged, I was discouraged. It was suggested that I wouldn't make a good veterinarian because I would want to "save" all the animals...but I would also be required to let some of them go...or even "help" them in their deaths. I decided they were right...I didn't have what it took to be good vet. I was told by a successful photographer that should I choose the path of photography that I better plan on just giving up my life to the job. They told me it was a 24/7 job...plus a few more hours if I could manage to squeeze them in. I did know that I wanted a husband and a family and these less than encouraging words certainly didn't make any of that seem possible. I guess this person was right, too...I didn't have what it took to be a photographer, either.
I would learn many, many years later that these people...without intending to be...were "saboteurs." Their words, actions and lack of support and encouragement were sabotaging my dreams...and I wasn't strong enough to resist them.
I did end up going to college for a year. It was horrible. I stunk at anything math and science related (which would have probably ruled out the whole veterinarian dream right there). I enjoyed history and political science (that last one surprised me then and it still surprises me today). My psychology class was fun. Literature classes were okay...but writing classes were better. By the end of the year, though, I was adamant about the fact that college wasn't for me. I convinced myself that it was because I didn't know what I wanted to do. Really it was the fact that I felt guilty being away and when I decided to pursue something that would keep me closer to home...although less exciting...it made people very happy. I realize now that I never even allowed myself to be excited about the possibilities that were ahead of me.
The following year after my one and only year of college I decided to attend business school. This was more like a job rather than school. I attended classes daily...almost like high school...and went home every.single.Friday afternoon. I had a job back home and I worked every Friday night, all day Saturday from noon to midnight and had Sundays off. The last quarter of business school was during the summer. I had to be out of my living quarters in May so I stayed home that summer, driving an hour to school every morning and an hour home every afternoon. That summer I worked every.single.night of the week, noon to midnight on Saturdays and again, had Sundays off. I told myself it was good.
By the time I was done with business school I had a degree in Travel Management. I could have booked you for an awesome vacation at any tropical destination of your choice. Except I couldn't seem to find a job. Again...I was encouraged not to move away. Stay home...it'll be cheaper and you can save money. So I thought, "I'll commute...really far. It'll be fine." But I couldn't find a job that would not only help you book the vacation of your dreams...but maybe take me to some far-off destinations as well. Soon I was applying for non-travel jobs and ended up with one that was far different than what I expected. Administrative. All future jobs followed this same path. And they were all fine. I was good at these jobs. I know this because people told me I was good at them. They requested me for projects. Some even asked me to do projects for them outside of work. Eventually I was asked to supervise those who were my peers.
It wasn't all horrible. Really. It was during this time that I started building confidence. I started to break out of my shell...as well as break some rules. (Actually, I started to break lots of "rules.") I started to discover who I was and gained self-esteem and independence. I met the man that would become my husband. When we started our family, that's when I found the contentment I had been looking for...being a wife and a mom. Me being home with our children is what both my husband and I desired for our family.
But deep down, I knew I desired something for myself, too. I told myself that in time I would discover what that was.
A few years ago I was offered the opportunity of having a life coach. It all sort of just fell into my lap and the bonus was that it was FREE for six months. Sold! My husband had a life coach once that was provided through work. I saw so many changes in him during his time with his coach. When he shared with me some of the conversations he had during their sessions I almost felt like a sponge, trying to soak up as much as I could from what my husband would share with me. Now it was my chance to experience this and I was beyond excited!
My coach lived in Missouri so we would meet via phone. I can't even tell you how much I looked forward to these calls every week. Through our sessions she was able to help me uncover things about myself that I didn't even know existed. She encouraged me to find "me" and seek out the things that made me happy. She encouraged me in my vision of creating "peaceFULLYsimple" and although I don't fully understand yet where God wants me to take this concept, my coach was the one who inspired me to at least breathe some air into the dream and make it something real and alive in my life. I don't have time to explain my concept of "peaceFULLYsimple" right now...but the dream I have of seeing it grow into something has become part of my daily life. My coach is the one who made me aware of my past "saboteurs" and encouraged me to be aware of any future "saboteurs" I will meet along the rest of my journey.
My coach inspired me in ways I never imagined.
When the time came to end our meetings due to a promotion my coach received at the company she for worked full-time, one of her final questions to me was, "So where do you see yourself going now?" She encouraged me to think on this and then send her my response.
The answer that was revealed to me was nothing I expected and nearly shook me to my core.
The answer came in a quiet voice...almost a whisper. And it was very matter-of-fact.
The voice said, "Be a life coach."
I remember just sitting there...dumbfounded...thinking, "Where did THAT come from?"
I know exactly where it came from.
It was God saying, "You know all those trials in life that you've experienced? You know how even in the worst of them you came out stronger on the other side of it? You know how even when it was really, really hard I encouraged you to trust me? You know how your coach just sort of "fell into your lap" and helped you discover things about yourself that you never even imagined? That was all me...helping you discover what I've seen all along. Now help someone else find in themselves what I already see in them...just like someone did for you."
This certainly wasn't anything I expected to hear. Being a life coach had never even crossed my mind until my coach asked me, "So where do you see yourself going now?"
So...have I done this?
I am confronted with new "saboteurs." Saboteurs like money. We can't afford the training I need for this. At least not today. Saboteurs like training that would take time away from my family. But my children are older now and able to help in providing their care rather than needing all care to be provided too them. Saboteurs like, "buy my husband has dreams he wants to fulfill." So do I. My dreams are valid, too. Today I am aware of saboteurs. Twenty-nine years ago I was not.
So as I sit here today, typing what's in my heart, I think back to 1984 and realize that if I had chosen my "life's path" way back then, my life today would be completely different. I think of all that I would have missed, too...especially during the last 23 years of knowing "my man" and being his wife and the mother to our children. I believe the "life" God placed before me is the path I belonged on. It is the life that God desired for me. It is the life he made me for. He chose to educate my heart...because he knew that's what I really longed for. Now...because I am ready...he has planted in me the desire to share what he has taught me with others. Not because I'm a product of higher education...but because I am his continual student.
My life coach brought out so much in me that had been hidden and buried for more years that I can remember. She uncovered in me things I didn't even know existed within myself. However, in the grand scheme of life...God is my continual life coach...seeing me just as he designed me to be...and helping me to see it, too.
Wishing you a peaceFULLYsimple day.