Pearls & Vodka

I hope you have the courage to start all over again…

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same; there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.” [1]

This saying has been misquoted for years; often you will see F. Scott Fitzgerald receiving the credit for these words, but it was really Eric Roth during his creation of “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

Regardless of who wrote it, the sentiment remains.

When I was a little kid, I use to tell people that I wanted to be a medical missionary to Australia. I’m not entirely sure where that desire came from. I’ve never been to Australia. I have always loved Jesus. But I was never cut out for the medical field. Alas, as you may not be too surprised to read, this childhood goal was left unattained. I don’t remember everything I wanted to be while I was growing up…I’m sure a lawyer and professional athlete were somewhere on that list. I actually fell in love with politics at a young age. When I was a young child, there was a picture on the front page of the El Dorado Times of me shaking hands with First Lady Barbara Bush. I’m fairly certain that brush with fame would become the starting point of my love of politics, the Republican Party and the Bush family.

Going away to college was no slam-dunk decision for me either. For some reason, thinking I was too big for my britches as a junior in high school, I decided to graduate a year early and start college. All that rushing to grow up, I’ll never understand what I was thinking. I enrolled at Kansas State University, and my parents moved all my earthly possessions to a dorm in Manhattan, Kansas. I lasted 24 hours. I drove home in the middle of the night; my Dad returned with me later for my belongings. I was too young, I missed my parents, and I missed my friends. I decided to just do the hometown gig and go to the University of Arkansas. My first day on campus a professor was shot by a student. As I’m sure you will be shocked to find out, I quickly decided that wasn’t for me either. After a short stint in community college and a summer working at the beach, I moved to Arkadelphia and started school at Ouachita. Best decision ever. Third time is a charm apparently.

I was a political science major and a communications minor, though my undergrad GPA looks more like I majored in having a good time. And that I did. My parents were told when I was very young that I was a “sociable” child. That theme has continued throughout my life. I graduated and moved to D.C. immediately. After things didn’t go my way in the 2008 campaign, I moved home to Northwest Arkansas, still reeling from my Dad’s death and completely clueless on what I wanted to do with my life. I tried working in mental health like my Mom. After a swift kick to the jaw by a juvenile patient and spinal fusion surgery later, I realized that was definitely not for me. I worked in Corporate America in transportation and a Xerox affiliate. Then of course at 30 I decided to pursue a career in women’s golf. And then I wound up back in Corporate America where I still am today.

So why the review of my resume?

Well, truth be told, I think a lot of you can relate. Granted you probably didn’t have an early mid-life crisis at 30 and decide to move off and try to make the LPGA tour, though if you did, I completely understand your pain. But the truth is, I don’t think I am alone at 34-years-old wondering exactly what I’m going to do with my life.

I love my job and the company I work for, so that’s not remotely what this blog is about.

The premise of this blog is finding what we are passionate about in life and having the courage to start over when we realize we got it wrong.

Though my path to realization has been scattered, I can look back now and see that all I’ve ever wanted to do is help people. I think I wanted to be a medical missionary because I wanted to help people. I think I wanted to be a lawyer because I wanted to help people. I think I went into politics because I wanted to help people. I tried mental health because I wanted to help people. I’m not sure where the golf fits in, but you see what I’m saying.

When I look back over my life, I see where I made some really great decisions, like OBU. And I see some really bad decisions, like KState…no offense to any Wildcat fans out there. I have made really good decisions on friendships and some really bad decisions on friendships. I’ve made the best decision of my dating life with my husband, and I’ve made some really bad decisions with some other folks in the past. No offense to any former boyfriends.

Life is made up of a series of choices. It reminds me of a maze where if you go one direction it leads you down one path, and if you choose just one different turn, you end up somewhere completely different. That being said, I do believe God has a plan for our lives, and I also believe He gave us the gift of free will.

I wonder how different life would be without that free will.

Lately, I’ve been pouring a lot of my free time into a friend’s new business called thread talk™. You’ll be hearing more about that as the launch date approaches. But I love what I’m doing there. I love helping friends out, especially ones I believe in. I love managing social media platforms. I love content writing. And I love helping to make a vision come to life.

I’ve also been spending a lot of time on this website. I love writing. I always have. Even as a child I was writing letters to State Senators. I love thinking long and hard about something. I love feeling inspired by a quote, or a song. I love researching an issue and forming an opinion.

I love being a wife and a mother. I never in a million years dreamed my life would look the way it does today. I have a handsome husband that still makes me giddy. He “gets” me. He understands me better than I understand myself. He encourages me. He prays for me. He holds me when I’m sad, and he hugs me when I’m scared. He makes me laugh and annoys me at the same time like no one else can do. And our little boy. This may be hard for some of you to believe, but sometimes I just look at him, and I’m speechless. That God would entrust us with his life is such a mind-blowing experience.

I don’t know exactly what I thought my life would look like when I grew up. But I’m so thankful that God has protected me from myself more times than I’d like to recall.

If I’m honest, it took me a good 30 years to really find my groove in life. And probably even more than that. I’ll be 35 in February, and I feel like I’m just now living my “best life.” I’m thankful that the Lord has gotten me here and that I have the people around me that I do today.

Sometimes I wonder what life would have been like if I had known details of my future early on in life. I wish a lot of times that I had only ever dated Arron. But the truth is, dating other people when I was younger has helped me appreciate who he is and the marriage that we have. I always thought I wanted more than one child. Now I’m still not sure we will survive the one we have. But I’m so thankful for the time we have with Judd that we can pour into him.

Life has dealt me some curveballs, probably more often than not it was because of some wrong turn I took in life. But it’s true that you really do have to pull yourself up by the bootstraps sometimes and get on with it, no matter how good, bad or ugly life has gotten. I can honestly look back on some ugly times in my life with gratitude now. Gratitude that those times are over, and gratitude for the lessons I learned. I learned how to be a better girlfriend/wife, I learned how to be a better mother, I learned how to be a better employee, a better friend, and a better daughter.

“I hope you live a life you are proud of.”

Candidly, I never thought I’d get there. Sure, as a child I thought I would. But as an adult, I took more than my fair-share of wrong turns, and I just wasn’t sure I’d ever be living a life I’m proud of. But I am. I’m proud of where I’ve come from. I’m proud of who I am today. I’m proud of my family and my friends. And I’m proud of the work we are all doing and the way we always support each other.

One thing I can say about my winding resume is that I’ve had the courage to start over again, more times than one. And I’m thankful that I had parents that instilled in me that I could be anything I wanted to be.

So, take courage friends, this journey isn’t over until we breathe our final breath.

Just keep swimming.

[1] http://banyancom.com/2014/05/the-power-of-a-misquotation/

Photo by Jakub Gorajek