I arrived mid-morning. Everything looked the way I remembered it. I slowly made my way to the trail head and navigated around the elementary kids on their school trip. Roughly a 1/2 mile in, and about 1000 feet of elevation later I was by myself. And I could really be present. It was me and the wind blowing through the trees. Me and the pine cones crunching beneath my feet. Me and the distant cars hurrying on the highway a few miles away. And I could reflect and think – all by myself. This doesn’t happen too often these days with two kids, a husband, a business, and all the things that I feel like I need to get done on a weekly basis. But a few weeks ago I was able to take a literal walk down memory lane. And as I had time to think in the place I used to live for seven years, I began to think about the different turns my life has made. The choices, intuition, decisions, and divine intervention that led me to now. And I wanted to share three decisions that ultimately made a difference in my life – and put me on a different course than the one I had been on.
- Growing up in small town Wisconsin, I couldn’t wait to leave. Looking back as an adult and parent, I now know that it was a special place to grow up. But I didn’t think I could ever see myself there long-term. I went off to Marquette University the fall of 1999 and really never went back. (Except for holidays, of course. I don’t want to give my mother heart attacks!) The reason I never went back is my first decision that changed the trajectory of my life – I became a traveling door to door salesperson and moved to TN after my freshman year of college. A what, you ask?! I was recruited to sell educational books and software door to door, 80 hours a week for my summer vacation so I could pay for the expense of a private liberal arts college. I was the middle of seven children and we were on our own for finances. I didn’t want to be ridden with debt so that’s the choice I made. It really changed everything for me up to that point. I got out of my comfort zone for the first time in my life – I cried a lot. I learned a lot. I became independent and learned what I was capable of. The most important thing that happened, though, is I was able to surround myself with friends that were motivated, fun, and going places. We’ve been told many times – you are the same person you will be ten years from now, except for the books you read and the people you associate with. I surrounded myself unintentionally with great people and sold another five summers. That decision created the next major one in my life.
- After living in six different areas of the country those summers selling books I knew that the midwest wasn’t where I wanted to live next. But I didn’t know where I should go. I took a random trip to Colorado with a girlfriend in October of 2004. I don’t even know why the two of us traveled there at that time – we really weren’t great fiends yet. We later became close and ended up in each other’s weddings, but I really can’t remember why we decided to go then. In any case, when we landed in Denver it was 28 degrees and snowing. We rented a Jeep Liberty and thought we were invincible. Turns out Colorado snow storms are nothing to mess with, and we ended up getting stuck when they shut down the interstate. The next day it was sunny and mid-50s. I kept asking, “Is it always this sunny here?! Is it usually this warm?! Do the mountains always look that beautiful? Can I really get drunk off of a beer and a half?! (altitude issues)” The answers kept coming back with a resounding “YES!” I had a handful of “book” friends living there and thought, when else can you just pick up your life and move to a new area of the country? I was scared of being that far away from my family, but had this gentle prodding from somewhere – call it intuition, call it whatever you want, but I decided that following fall I would make the move permanent. I found a job there, made friends there, partied too hard downtown there, and took in as much as a young professional should. Denver is where I came out of my shell. (I like to say that I had an awkward 20 years – from 8 years old to 28 years old 😉 ). It was an amazing chapter in my life. As I was back visiting a few weeks ago I remembered everything that I loved about it. But I also realized it’s not the best city for my husband and me to raise our kids. That’s why we ended up moving back to MN.
- And speaking of my husband – how we met will always be one of my favorite intuition moments. One of my close friends lived across town from me. It was about a 20 minute drive and roughly six city miles. I had just returned from Florida visiting my little brother before he took off on his first of many deployments for the Air Force. And my friend and I made plans to get dinner together. On my way over there, she had sent me a text saying change of plans – let’s get drinks later instead (which I didn’t get because I didn’t read texts and drive). I pulled up to her house and now I was left with nothing to do for an hour until she got home. (This was in the olden days of 2009 when we didn’t sit on our phone wasting time for hours.) After a failed attempt at breaking into her house to steal some dinner and watch her tv, I went back to my car. This is where it gets crazy! I remember sitting in my Honda Civic with my left foot propped up on the door keeping it open. I noticed that my friend’s neighbor’s light was on. I had met him very briefly before and remembered that I had liked him. Should I knock on his door and see if he has a key? And in that very moment I thought, “I need to go and talk to him. My future self will thank me. And no one will remember this story when I tell it in the future.” Those EXACT words went through my head. I was wearing a new shirt and some sexy jeans I had bought in FL and thought, now or never! I slapped on some lip gloss and walked myself up to his door. This is one of those moments when you just KNOW that God is looking out for you. But most of us ignore these probings and let fear take over. I approached his door, asked if his name was Cody (that was his dog’s name – now our dog. Turns out Carl and Cody can get Very confusing!) He invited me in and we sat and talked for over an hour. And it turns out he wasn’t even supposed to be there that night. Carl was supposed to be entertaining clients but he was sick and stayed home instead. Goose bumps, right?! And today is my husband’s birthday so I love this story even more! (Below is a picture of his old apartment I knocked on. I took this picture two weeks ago when I went back.)
When is intuition speaking to you? What are the coincidences that keep popping up in your life? I feel like if we get over our fear of difference circumstances and act on what we know to be right, miracles start happening for us. Everything really does happen for a reason, and I’m so thankful that I have someone watching out for me!
(photo by Tracy Walsh Photo)