After my sophomore year of and graduation from college (both major milestones in my life), I didn’t think I’d have another “milestone year” until my first year as a full-time teacher. Or the year I got married. Or the year I lived totally on my own. Something like that. However, while nothing like that happened to me this year, but I still consider my 22nd year – one in which I got rejected from jobs, accepted my first full-time job and moved, quit my first full-time job and moved again, got rejected from some more jobs, got engaged, became a high school head coach, and worked part-time as a substitute teacher (despite my need and best efforts to gain more hours), only to start the whole full-time job search over again just like last summer – to have been one of the most important years in my life.
I learned SO MUCH. I learned how truly stressful all of life can be when money is tight and you are living a paycheck-to-paycheck existence. I learned how to let go of the money worries, do my best, and trust it will be okay. I learned how very lucky and blessed I am to have supportive parents and future in-laws who are willing to help me out while the education job market is tight. And at swim meets. And planning my wedding. And pretty much anything I go to them for. I learned that $2.75 beers of the month and $1.29 Redboxes add just as much fun and memories to a night as $5.50 craft brews and $10.00 movie tickets. I learned I can handle almost every age group or subject in grades 7-12 and if a lane line breaks in the middle of a swim meet I won’t have a breakdown. I learned to always ask a question if you don’t know what you’re doing and never to apologize for it. I learned I missed the city of Bowling Green and Northwest Ohio even more than I anticipated I would. I learned how to be in a long-distance relationship with someone I used to be with for hours every day. I learned to say “no” sometimes and not feel (too) bad. I learned how to stop making excuses and just do what I need to do. I learned I’m going to screw up and mistakes are stressful but you just have to keep moving forward. I learned that just because life isn’t going the exact way you wish it was, doesn’t mean it’s not truly beautiful.
Yes, I’m working on getting my career where I want it to be, planning a wedding, and getting healthy, all while spending as much time with loved ones as I can. It can be overwhelming at times, but my life is so full of joy. I can’t wait to see what lessons and memories 23 brings me.