11 Summers of Reflection

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In a friendly conversation I was asked if I reflect on my life.  I had to resist saying, “Duh!” because it would have been childish, but it turned into a fruitful conversation and a serious train of thought for me.  Since coming into the new year, I promised myself that I wouldn’t dwell in the past, but some things are worth remembering.  Today I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude and knew that I had to sit down for this blog post.

I separated from the Air Force in 2007, the summer of 2007 and here I am now, not working my 11th summer and still getting paid.  That is a blessing!  Not because I’m an educator, but it is a blessing that I have a career that I love and it frees up my time to pursue my passion during breaks and holidays.  My website and blog are my outlet to practice my writing skills as I crank out my inspirational nonfiction.  I never thought nonfiction would have been the genre of my first two books My Fourth Year in Middle School:  The Truth About Teaching (2016) and Brown Sugar Magic: Goal Setting and Reflections Journal (2017).

So here we go, 11 Summers of Reflection…

2007:  I was scared out of my mind to be separating from the Air Force after six years because I was concerned with finding a job.  It didn’t matter that I had earned two associates degrees, my bachelors, and was separating honorably, I was preparing in my mind for my future.  I settled into my new home back in my home state and pushed dozens of my resume and applications out.  I chose to go work for the Office of Child Support Services.  In eight months I learned that child support enforcement is not the kind of job I wanted.  Thankfully I was a forward thinker and able to move on.

2008: The summer of newness.  After working for the State of Georgia for a hot minute… I was impressive enough to secure interviews in April of 2008 to become a teacher.  So mid-way through my Master’s program leading into the summer, I was blessed enough to not work a second summer in a row, and still collect a check.  My Essentials to Teaching class was an eye-opener, but I was excited to take on a new challenge and start my new career as a teacher.  I had no idea what I was getting into.

2009:  This summer broke me just a little….  I had been with my high school crush since 2001 right before joining the Air Force, but at the end of my first year of teaching we had a MAJOR fight… the fight was the snowball to that marriage.  I celebrated my first year of teaching, the highs and lows.  I found love for the classroom and for the students I taught.  I moved forward with my career while crying my eyes out at night, but pulling it together to be SUPER mom for my boys.  We separated.  Tough Summer!

2010:  I had filed for divorce, experienced a fling with a blast from the past and when that didn’t work, I flew to Puerto Rico.  It was just the getaway that I needed.  Now there is no need for details, but being around a familiar and trustworthy face made the trip worth it.  We ate, we drank, we talked.  I loved him but we understood that our love was not to be explored beyond where we were at.  We were adults… still distant friends… Truly someone I will never forget.  I see his life now and I’m extremely happy for him.

2011:  I had completed my third year of teaching and I had some tough decisions to make.  Reconcile completely or not to reconcile at all.  Things were not adding up so I made a choice to walk away.  After someone says they don’t like the word marriage, you walk away.  I never work summer school, but one of my friends had the bright idea to start a book club and we had the most fun ever.  The book club fell to wayside because life happened but shortly after the summer, September to be exact, I was officially divorced.  After all according to that spouse, marriage was just a piece of paper.  Ain’t no way hell was I about that life.

2012:  This was my summer of sexy!  I had officially become a homeowner and hosted my housewarming party.  This was one of the most rewarding experiences I had in a lifetime.  Becoming a homeowner and decorating my home was the best feeling ever.  I could not have been more excited in this year of independence.  I loved every moment of my freedom to do as I chose.

2013: Summer of blur.  I was in a relationship.  It was fun.  It was combative.  Two summers post divorce, and second summer of home ownership.  I had tunnel vision and was completing my last required courses towards my doctorate.  I was trying to be a free spirit and finding myself all over again.

2014:  Let’s call this the summer of love.  I was smitten. I was engaged. I was a nervous wreck.  I was trying!  I think I tried and cried so hard this particular summer.  I honestly don’t know if I was coming or going.  But that is all apart of life.  The struggle to get to what is real.

2015:  The summer of laughter.  A beautiful summer of grilling, slip and slides for the kids, Tybee Island, Jekyll Island, and Summer Waves.  WE had fun…a lot of fun.  I was oblivious and living in the moment.  I was happy.  My boys were growing up and mama was having a life too.  Life could not have been more grand than what it was.

2016:  Revelations and Celebrations!  A year ago I was flying back from Fort Lauderdale after walking across the grand stage to receive my Doctorate of Education.  I was starting my “business” of writing and blogging and trying to figure things out.  I published my book and was on an emotional high.  Of course some things did not feel right in my marriage, but I took things in stride and accepted some harsh realities.  The highs of cruising to the Bahamas a second time, Florida, and family kept me motivated.  I was continuing to come into my own.

2017:  The journey to here!  I am elated to be standing because I know who I am.  I know the impact I have on my LOVED ones, and the RESPECT I have earned in my career, my family, my friends, and my life.  The story is still being written as I’m WRITING!  So do I reflect on my LIFE?  Hell yes I reflect on my life and I am forever grateful for all of my experiences.  The GOOD and the BAD.  The HURTFUL and the LOVING.

In my 11 summers I have made time for myself.  I love myself and the woman that I continue to become.  Others will wonder how I do it?  I’ll just say that it’s the drive and the God in me.  I’m not perfect, I’m original.

Live~Reflect~Write~Learn

LaTilya Rashon

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