Sometimes when I stop and look at the way life unfolds, I can’t help but notice how crazy it can be. I’m experiencing something I didn’t ever anticipate with this career change. Everything seems to be coming full circle, and…
I never saw it coming.
We can make plans and have dreams and hopes for our lives, but we never really know how things will turn out. When I was in college, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. The only thing I knew was that I enjoyed studying and speaking Spanish. It really was the only thing I was sure that I loved, but I didn’t know how to make it into a career. Instead of actually exploring a future using a skill I loved, I closed that door. I felt I wasn’t cut out to teach, and I didn’t know what else I could do with it.
I was, somehow, so driven by choosing something that I thought would “get me somewhere,” that I ignored the only thing I enjoyed.
And it’s sort of hard for me to admit that.
It wasn’t until I decided that I was going to dental school (and I really did want that,) that I felt I could actually study what I wanted to study. (Ugh, that’s so backwards.) So I finally felt the freedom to choose to major in Spanish. Once I felt secure in my career choice, I chose Spanish as my major because I loved it, and that’s what I wanted to spend my college days doing. I felt a connection to it. It was fun. I, the person who always thought I was more of a math/science person and so bad at English in high school, was basically taking Spanish literature courses throughout college. I remember writing 15-page papers in Spanish. And while I wouldn’t say I loved doing that, I always felt accomplished that I could do it.
And guess what? Spanish loved me too.
I was pleasantly surprised at graduation to receive a university award from the Spanish department. Really? Me?!? I was never the person to win an award– ever! That happened to other people; you know, the brainy people who worked really hard to be at the very very top of the class. But this was real, and it never felt like a struggle to study Spanish. I often forget about the Premio Clavileno (as it is called,) but it will always remain as one of my favorite accomplishments. You know why? Because despite any insecurities or doubts I had about what I was doing, I earned it, and it was confirmation that what I felt was real.
Spanish and I had a thing. We were just good together.
After graduation, I chose to go live in Spain for a year. I knew living there was something I had to do. So the years passed, and I returned home, entered a career I ended up hating, and went on with my life. But I always had one thing on my bucket list: someday I would live in a Spanish-speaking country again and really become fluent in Spanish. I didn’t know how it would happen, but I was gonna do it.
And then things kept coming into my life to keep my connection with Spanish alive. I met Nick, who also lived in Spain and loved Spanish. We developed a habit of traveling to Mexico often, and even had our wedding in Playa del Carmen. We have always loved the country– the people, the food, tequila, and of course, the language– and it’s a quick getaway for us. And while the connections to the language kept showing up over the years, things kept happening to keep it out of my life. Although I knew I wanted it to be part of my present and future, I got lazy. I lost my ability, and now it’s much harder for me to use than it was, *gulp*, 17 years ago. Over the years, I had no way to really immerse and practice, so I sort of gave up. But here I am today, with perhaps one of the best surprises of this career journey.
My off-again on-again relationship with Spanish is on again.
I’m not moving abroad, and I honestly have no real desire to do that right now. I like the way things are. But my new business has brought Spanish back into my life in exactly the capacity I had always hoped for but thought was impossible. My company will soon be launching in Mexico as part of the initial stages of our global expansion. Since I’ve known about the Mexico launch, I’ve been able to make new friends and use my Spanish to get to know people who share the same vision. And now I see how that original plan that I never actually had the courage to make back in college is coming to fruition. As I take notice of how this one leap out of my comfort zone has rekindled an old passion, I am reminded of something I always say: you never know how one door will open and lead you to another. It’s amazing to see yet again how when you open your mind and your heart, the universe will conspire with you to bring you the things you have always wanted in life.
So with that, I challenge you to start to notice this in your own life, and share it here. Did you ever abandon pursuing something that you really enjoyed? Why? What do really you love to do? Do you have dreams of pursuing it someday?