2014…. One could say this was the year that began the renaissance within me. It started out with a bang and by bang I mean I had finished 2013 with starting a new job, the one that would do me in with cube life, following an epic breakup after deciding to spend 2 weeks roaming around India and Nepal, where I did in fact get so malnourished that my brain ceased functioning and I drank the water. Yes, I know this is traveling 101 but tell me how you feel after eating nothing but a Luna bar a day for 1.5 weeks, trust me when I say you are no longer able to think coherently about anything.
To say I did not take that breakup well would be the understatement. I completely lost myself. That relationship had become my only non-work thing that I had so losing it meant losing friends and activities and basically starting over again, which ended up being exactly what I needed. I made great new friends at my new job, some of which I am still close with to this day. I started living for me focusing on what I really wanted and needed and had zero interest in dating. I started to at least realize how much I had allowed myself to get sucked up by that relationship and knew I never wanted to be that person again. In essence I was starting to find myself.
In early spring I began to feel that my job just was not what I wanted. It did not fulfill me which I did not realize was an issue until I took this job. I could not really think of what else I was looking for as I thought my options were PR or teaching. I thought on it and as I mentioned before reminisced about my time spent teaching and thought well if only I knew what I was doing more and I am older now and I was not prepared back then. I also thought well I am not sitting at a desk all day if I am teaching, I have some autonomy over my classroom and I can travel during the summers, which is another passion of mine. I applied for a post graduate teaching program, got accepted and started in Fall of 2014. At this time I was ecstatic with my life. I had just moved downtown into a one bedroom apartment all by myself for the first time, had left behind cube life, was single and loving it and had an amazing new group of friends.
Then fate stepped in. I went to a BBQ at a friends house and met a charming Southern gentleman, Matt, who was nothing like me, but intrigued me all the same. He was starting to figure things out in a different realm and get his life together as well and the draw was strong. We had opposite schedules and nothing was easy about it. I got up on average at 6 am to start my classes and taught in the afternoons. He started his day at 11am at the earliest and ended around 2 am, but he got me. I no longer felt like I was being put into some type of cage as I had in every relationship before. He actually let me be as wild and free as I wanted to be and the things I had nervousa about in previous relationships were not an issue. It just worked.
However life is rarely a fairy tale. Matt started to feel gastrointestinally ill about a month into us dating and it got rapidly worse culminating in a snowboard trip in which Matt was so ill he was unable to ride at all. He went to California for Christmas to visit his family. I went back to Philadelphia with mine. Over the course of that week Matt would complain of his stomach hurting and severe headaches in which he did not want to even speak to anyone because sound hurt his head so bad. I had no clue what was happening, but was about to learn that he had severe Crohn’s Colitis, was bleeding profusely from his colon and it would culminate in what we call the jackpot of strokes… an ischemic stroke that become a hemorrhagic. I spoke to him on December 30th moments before he would lose the ability to speak, he was unable to get anything out but that I should fly to Sacramento to see him so I booked a flight. The next morning I got a text from a mutual friend saying they were so sorry and was there anything that he could do to which I immediately called him and found out that Matt had suffered a stroke.
An old boss once told me that we are always one choice away from a completely different life and this was one of those moments. I prepared for my flight to Sacramento, got to the airport, talked to another friend of his and sat in front of the gate. Next to the Sacramento gate was a Miami one so I sat there knowing if I went to Sacramento it was going to be bad and there was most likely no turning back. I debated whether I should plea with the gate attendant to allow me to go to Miami where I could decompress for a few days and go back to Denver. No one was going to fault me for not going, Matt and I had been dating a mere 3 months and I love leaving. I am the person that leaves when given the choice largely out of a fear of being the one that stays.
At the last moment possible I boarded the flight to Sacramento and never looked back, so was the beginning of a brand new life in more ways than I could ever have imagined and the catalyst for my next big life adventure and career path.