How Did I Get Here Part 1
July 03, 2016

How Did I Get Here Part 1

How Did I Get Here?

Have you ever thought, How did I get here? I get asked this question frequently from friends, family, and people who knew me before I arrived at this place in my life. I was visiting with someone I used to work with many moons ago- before we were both married with kids. I just visited her after she had twin girls and I was dropping off her order. She asked, "How did you ever get started in all this?" I told her the quick and dirty version of the story. But later that night, I started thinking about my story. And I wondered:

Where does my story begin?

So here is Part I in my series. Once upon a time, I wanted to be a marine biologist. True story. It wasn't just a wish kids have, like 'I wanna be a baseball player' or 'I'm going to grow up to be a doctor' or 'I want to be a teacher'. From the summer before fifth grade until I left for college, I wanted to be a marine biologist. I had it all planned out. It didn't matter how much money I was (or was not) going to make or where I was going to have to live (away from family). What mattered was that I wanted to swim with the dolphins and I needed to save the ocean. I knew what classes I was going to take in high school, the grades I wanted to earn and where I wanted to go to school. I felt lucky and really smart to know what my "calling" was. 

Seaworld in 1989

I have been a total type A since I can remember; fully planning every detail of every aspect of my life. I love planning. Love it. I love planning out and setting goals and then achieving them. I have always felt very driven.

Everything went according to plan. I did great in high school, played lots of sports, did volunteer work, chaired academic clubs and applied to only three colleges. None of them in my home state of Michigan. This is where, looking back, a tiny portion of myself wishes I would have done things differently. But you can't go back, and even if I could, I wouldn't change anything. Because- and I'll probably say this a lot- I wouldn't be where I am and who I am without those choices.

I was accepted into all three colleges and went on a visit to Texas A&M in Galveston. I loved it. It was small, ocean side, and full of people who wanted to do the same thing as me. Perfect.

So as summer ended and moving out of state loomed it started to feel funny. Being only 18 and excited about being on my own and far away and living my dream....

I started to feel funny. I didn't listen to my gut, chalked it up to being nervous/terrified/excited. How could I want something for eight years and then change my mind? I felt real funny when my dad and I arrived in Galveston. I didn't listen to my gut until I was in the stairwell in my college dorm, looking out of the glass wall at my father driving away that I actually said to myself, "this doesn't feel right".

Lesson number 1: listen to your gut.

But- if I hadn't have made this stop in my journey, I wouldn't have met my suitemate Kristin. We both hated being there and commiserated together. She was from Dallas and would take me home with her. Her family is awesome and we are still great friends after 18 years. I love her dearly. And because of her, I would never take back going to TAMU-Galveston.

Kristin and Michelle

So after just one semester in what I now affectionately refer to as "hell", I came home with my tail tucked between my legs to figure out the rest of my life.

(to be continued).