When you are younger people ask you what you want to be when you grow up. My ideas ranged from FBI agent, to a nurse, to politics, until I finally found my way in Student Affairs. The journey was full of changes and lots of moves to different cities but each step has prepared me for what was ahead. I still have no idea where I will end up but I am confident that my heart will lead the way. What I realize about all of the hopes and dreams I had as a young girl is that I always wanted to help people, to believe in people and what they are capable of accomplishing. There is no better moment for me than seeing someone create the life they have always imagined. I remember my first few months at Arkansas, a student asked me how I made it to DC (she had aspirations of moving to NYC) and I think my response was something like, "I just took a chance and went and the rest figured itself out". Up until that point, I had never thought I was doing anything out of the ordinary, just following whatever door opened next, but I realize the gumption to go on the next great adventure is a gift that I have been given. This incredible gift has afforded me the opportunity to be a part of people's lives in a very unique way - to cheer them on when the skin their knees and to share in their greatest triumphs. And for the record.. that student is living her dream in the Big Apple!
All of us touch someone's life. Behind me every step of the way has been my family who have accepted and supported each new turn. They created opportunities for me that they did not have, sacrificed time with me, provided financial resources, told me that I could do it when I was not sure, and, most of all, they gave me the unconditional love I needed to become who I am. Along this journey, I have picked up mentors and friends that helped me see the possibilities, drove with me to a new city, sent cards to encourage me, and had long conversations with me over a meal to discuss what this thing called life is really all about. I am blessed to have their support and to be so incredibly loved by those in my life.
While there is still so much ahead of me, I feel grateful to be living the life I always imagined. I have no idea what awaits me but my only birthday wish is that I have the courage to continue doing what is next. All I can really hope for in my thirties is that life continues to be a wild ride, full of unexpected turns. Whatever course life may take, I am certain that I will continue to seek out work that involves service and assisting others in realizing their potential. I hope that I am a good friend to those I love, a sister and aunt that loves beyond measure, and a daughter my parents continue to be proud of. And, if along the way, I can touch someone's life in a positive way.. well, that is just the delicious cream cheese icing on a red velvet cake!
Here is to the last few weeks in my twenties!
"When I stand before God at the end of my life I would hope that I would have not a single bit of talent left and could say, 'I used everything you gave me'".
~ Erma Bombeck