My journey into adulthood began in 1991 after graduating from high school. I enrolled at a local community college and worked two part-time jobs. Several weeks into my first college semester, I received a confirmation by mail that I had been accepted by an out-of-state college. I moved the following semester. My parents bought me luggage, a one-way airplane ticket, a Greyhound Bus ticket, and sent me off in the dead of winter to Rexburg, Idaho. With no car, no cell phone, and two suitcases in tow, I was dropped off late one evening by a shuttle driver outside my college dorm.
What does a native California 18-year-old gal know about winters in Idaho? Nothing! It was dark, cold, and I quickly learned temperatures can actually drop below zero degrees? Why in the world did weather not make my list of college site criteria?
I spent my late teens and 20’s engaged in learning about myself and a variety of subjects related to school. Over the next several years, I attended four different colleges in three different states. No, I was not kicked out! I read and studied in an effort to excel in my academic performance. I sought employment and worked hard while I was going to school. I earned college degrees. I lived with roommates—25 of them to be exact! I moved to the East Coast where I accepted a volunteer position for 18 months. After living away from California for nearly eight years, I returned with the desire to make California my home. I obtained my first full-time executive assistant position, started teaching a night class at a local community college, and bought a home.
I spent my 30’s continuing to embrace and build upon my administrative professional and teaching careers. I enjoyed working both as an executive assistant and college educator rarely working less than 80 hours a week. It’s not a lifestyle that may work for many, but it was perfect for me. My passion for learning later fueled my desire to return to school as a student. While working dual careers I took advantage of my employer’s tuition reimbursement benefit and earned a master’s degree. During school breaks, I set off on regular travel adventures and developed a passion for seeing the world.
I am now in my 40’s and continue to enjoy my career as an executive assistant, volunteer my time to support good causes, run a business, blog, and travel. I have enjoyed the gift of time to invest in my career, nurture family relationships and friendships, and to spend time engaging in the activities mentioned previously. I have chosen to embrace life fully and to have a positive outlook.
Why do I share this personal history of my life with you? The responsibility for designing my path has been mine. It is up to each of us to own and design the path we want to create for our lives. The responsibility for doing the work while on this path is also ours. It is up to each of us to be courageous and to get out of our comfort zone so that we can grow personally and professionally. Our future depends upon what we do today. The best way to predict what the future holds is to design it and do the hard work.
The journey has not always been easy. At times I have “stood alone” in order to be whom I want to be. It takes vision, courage, and commitment to stand alone and be true to yourself. Over the years I have learned that we all have different needs, capacities, aspirations, struggles, strengths, and weaknesses. That is what makes us all different and unique. Let us not compare ourselves with others. Rather let us work harder to design the path we want to navigate in this life and support others on their journeys as well.
I don’t know what the future holds. However, I will continue to embrace life with optimism, courage, and hope! Helen Keller once wrote: “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”