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.