During my senior year in high school, I had a very clear goal in mind. I was going to college at Humboldt State University. I wanted to become a park ranger. I wanted to also study art so I could create brochures with detailed art work, about whatever park I was working in. I wanted to be an park educator. I wanted to do that so badly, I could taste it.
Unfortunately, life happened. Circumstances were sufficient enough to totally derail my dreams and goals. I did go to college. San Jose Bible College, to be specific. But it was more of a refuge, than a goal. It was a good school. It had an impact on my life and taught me a great deal about myself, but, it was an “only choice” type of thing. It brought me no joy, and it wasn’t where my passion lie.
For a long, long time, I believed my passions were out of reach. Instead, I allowed myself to settle for the mundane things and a life of less spirit.
Before this starts to sound too morose, it really wasn’t all bad. I had joy, and happy times. I found fulfilling jobs and met dear friends. But I wasn’t challenging myself. I did what I felt was expected of me. I had a job. I got married. I took care of my family members. I took care of others.
I didn’t let myself believe that things could be different. I felt that I was too old to restart myself. So, I didn’t. But all the while, things felt off. There was something that needed to be different. I knew I really wanted more. But I ignored it, and told myself I couldn’t change anything.
But here’s the thing. Anytime you repeatedly force something or someone, even yourself, to not do what comes naturally, you create an imbalance. Eventually, that imbalance will right itself. It’s simple physics. Because you put a lot of force into keeping nature in check, usually the first result of the imbalance is a bit of an explosion. The good thing, though, is that after that, the pressure subsides.
My personal big bang happened over the course of a year when a lifetime of changes all hit at the same time. There was no preparing for it. At first my reaction was to just “handle it.” To me “handling it” meant doing what was expected, and stuffing down my personal feelings for the greater good.
That lasted about a month or two, or three. Then I imploded. People thought I had gone a bit crazy. I wasn’t my “normal self”. I changed how did things. I got a divorce. I stopped taking care of anyone but me and my nephew. I went on a walkabout. I stopped doing favors for people. I dated online. I did some stupid things. I did some really smart things. I spent a lot of time alone, but I also I met a great guy.
The plan of stuffing my feelings away didn’t work very well.
Or maybe it did. Because once my true nature finally got out and there was no going back to the old me; the settled me. My life opened up. I am a more powerful, me. I am a braver, me. I am a more focused, me. I am a more loving, me.
I am happy.
And this year, I took steps to reclaim my dream from oh, so many years ago, and became a docent at the Arboretum.
It isn’t quite the same as my original dream of being a ranger cum artist, but it’s all good. I have choices. The more I open up to doing things I love, the more I become aware of possibilities to come. They were always there, I just couldn’t see them.
What I did find was that it wasn’t too late to restart my life.
It never is. These days, when I feel like I’m getting a bit sidetracked, I just reset myself and keep going.
Now it’s not so much a “Big Bang,” as it is a slight bump in the road.