Sunday, November 7, 2010

Thirty in Thirty: Seven

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. ~Albert Schweitzer

My first day of work at my first "adult" job I met this person. We did not exactly hit it off. I thought she was a goody-goody prude and she thought I was a drunk, partying sorority girl. To be honest neither of us was too far off. She'd just graduated from a private Christian university where she was an RA. I had just finished up at OU where I'd spent the last two years drinking A LOT of alcohol along with a host of other not so good for me things.

The good news was that we took time to get through that surface stereotype and learn who the other one really was. And we became best friends.

I was there when she met her husband to be, and how she wasn't so sure about him. She was there for the first adult boyfriend (referenced in number three of this series) that didn't work out so well. She got engaged the night that I met the last boyfriend/fiance. When I went out with him the first time she told me not to worry about it, just to let go and enjoy it and she'd do the worrying.

She was there during the first breakup, the second, the third, the fourth, and the most during the last. We talked every day, several times a day right after the wedding was called off. Throughout my relationship she tried to explain the concept of codependency to me, but I never allowed it to sink in. Oh I knew that I was very codependent, but I did not want to hear it. Finally after that break up I got it through my head. Through many, many, many, many talks, tears and realizations I began to heal from the relationship.

The hardest part was that I had to learn who I was, as an adult, in Norman, without him. Let's be honest. I graduated college, partied that whole summer, started a job and started dating someone from home, leading me to be at home every weekend and a few times a week. When that finally came to an end I just wanted away from him, so I threw myself into the next relationship, giving up all the things that were me that reminded me of him for this guy who was such a polar opposite.

Here I was now trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted. July 23, 2009 I cried on the phone to her for about three hours. We went through everything and I was frustrated by my lack of passion. The ex was passionate about sports, but what was I passionate about? Him. (And my darling child I nannied for.) Through this conversation all I could come up with was people. What I finally realized was that I wanted to help people. I don't know that I would have seen that without her talking me through it.

She has her Masters of Human Relations. That's how we met. She moved to Norman to go to grad school and we went to work at the same place, on the same day. Halloween day, last year, on a whim, I asked her about grad school. It was just a question, nothing really serious about it. We ended up talking for a long time the next night. I have already expressed how much I want to be a mom and I want a daughter, plain and simple. I was very lightly rolling the idea of grad school in my head. I kind of had a framework of what I wanted to do, or what group I wanted to help, and when I realized that there was a non profit element to the MHR I was intrigued.

As we're talking and I started to kind of come around to the idea, realized how many hours it was and what the requirements were, she said the cruelest, meanest, most perfect thing to me: What are you going to tell your daughter when you had this opportunity to further your education and you didn't do it?


Geez. That was low. Using my yet to be conceived child, that I want more than anything against me? You know what? It worked. That was the one thing that I needed to jump start me. I realized that I have this amazing opportunity. I was given a second chance. I had decided that my life would be one way, but God did not see it that way. I was given this chance to not only change my life, but hopefully to change others' as well.

I hated school. Especially college. I wasn't really looking forward to "hitting the books" again. What I realized, though, was that I have finally found my calling. Now I hate the word "calling" because the majority of people that I have heard use it have been so full of crap that it just makes it sound like total B.S. But, alas, that's what it is. My challenge to myself, though, is to not rush through school and be looking forward to the finish line, like I have my entire life. I am truly, honestly enjoying school. I love that in grad school (or maybe it is just the Human Relations department) that they really seem to want you to learn. We have a social justice basis and they challenge you to make a difference in your community, no matter what track you set yourself on. I love that! I love my specialization! I love the potential that I can see coming from it! I feel so lucky and blessed to have a second chance at life. I know I'm going to make a difference. I'm not exactly sure how, but I have some ideas and I think after next semester I am going to be ready to take a huge step of faith and try it out. Time will tell.

I'm so glad that I didn't take this friend at face value and totally stereotype her that first day at work. Who knows where I would be without her!

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