Life is weird. Seven years ago, I was 23 years old, just one year removed from college, hadn’t even been dating Tyler a full year yet, was just six months into my job at St. Charles Community College and therefore six months into living on my own for the first time in my life. I was just starting to figure out my life as an “adult.”
Little did I know how much my life would change just two months later, on that fateful day in August, and how fast I would have to transition from a newly graduated college kid trying to figure things out to a full-grown adult.
That fateful day in August was the night before Tyler’s 25th birthday, and his friends threw a pool party for him.
I remember getting a frantic call in the middle of the party from my dad, who was on a bicycling trip with his buddies in Colorado. He told me he was coming home because he had been in a biking accident, bumped his head, and after going to the hospital discovered there was a tumor in his brain.
Anyone who knows me knows how the rest of this story goes, so I will spare you the gory details, but 16 months later, my dad bravely succumbed to the disease that slowly took everything away from him.
That was December 2011. The following year would be the toughest year of my life, but ended with two good things: I started working for the American Cancer Society on Oct. 16, 2012, and a month later I was engaged to the second best man I’ve ever known.
Fast forward nearly five years later, and here I am, 30, married, and on the cusp on another big change: After devoting the second half of my twenties to a cause that meant so much to me, I am leaving the American Cancer Society for a job with the Community Relations Department at the City of St. Peters.
Here’s where life gets even weirder: I interned for the Community Relations Department at the City of St. Peters nearly 10 years ago, when I was 21, the summer between my junior year and senior year. Even weirder – I worked in a different department for the City of St. Peters, in Economic Development the summer before that.
What’s funny was that during the interview process for this job, they asked what was one of the worst jobs I’ve ever had, and I told them it was the summer I pulled staples all day, every day, for the Economic Development Department. This is the same job that was heavily encouraged by my father to go for, even though I was not keen on the idea of spending the summer in between my sophomore and junior year of college in an office, 8:30-5, Monday-Friday every week. Boy, did that ever end up paying off.
It never ceases to amaze me how seemingly small decisions, like summer jobs while you’re in college, can affect your life 10 years later. (Or how getting your first job at a Hallmark store walking distance from the house you grew up in could lead to meeting your best friends and eventually your future husband).
But then on another fateful day that I will never forget (not nearly as dramatic or tragic as the other fateful day), someone who worked in the Economic Development department asked me what I was studying in college. At the end of my sophomore year, I had just decided I was going to give communications a try after failing miserably as a double major in business and German. So, he decided to take me upstairs to meet the director of the Community Relations Department for the City of St. Peters, Lisa Bedian, who, as of July 10, will be my boss. I will never forget meeting her that day.
As we continue down the rabbit hole of life being weird, exactly a year ago on June 28, I wrote a blog post called “Left Turns,” and mentioned this story, and I say how Lisa was one of the most influential people I’ve ever met. I had no idea a year later she would become even more influential by offering me a job in her department! I also wrote this:
“Making my “left turn” was the best decision I ever made. Almost four years later, I’m still here, in fact, it’s the longest I’ve stayed in the same job since graduating college, and I still love it, for the most part. Event planning and managing volunteers is definitely my calling, and I’ve been able to find other ways to use my creative writing skills, which I still love. I do miss the social media and other aspects of working in the marketing and PR field from time to time, and I have no idea how or if I will ever get back into that line of business. Or if I even want to.”
Turns out, I did want to, but I wouldn’t realize that until David Fults, who I interned for in the Community Relations Department, reached out to me via Facebook a few months ago. He told me Carole Stangle, who I also interned for, was retiring after 23 years, and he was wondering if I would be interested in applying for the job. And get this: I hadn’t talked to or seen Dave in almost 10 years, and the week after he messages me I run into him at Tyler and I’s favorite local watering hole: Exit 6. Weird, right?
Well, it actually took me a few weeks to warm up to the idea, but like a seed it was planted and continue to grow in my mind until I eventually had my heart set on it. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect and I felt like the job description was written for me. I had a feeling then and I know it now: it was all fate – it was all meant to be.
Yesterday my awesome Relay coworkers threw me a baseball and pizza themed good bye lunch, which couldn’t have been more perfect.
I’m a sucker for good puns, and my friend Lauren is the queen of this kind of stuff! Then even more fitting they took me out for my last lunch today at none other than Mission Taco, quite possibly my favorite restaurant in St. Louis! I am so excited that the new one in St. Charles opened up this week (yes we’ve already gone so yes I’ve gone twice this week, don’t judge) just in time for when I start the St. Peters job!
Thus the title of this blog. That’s a screenshot of my friend Sam’s Snapchat on the left, which I thought was perfect.
Everyone keeps asking what I will miss most about ACS, and with every job I’ve ever left, the answer is always the same: the people. I’ve met some amazing coworkers and volunteers in my nearly five years at ACS, some of whom I hope remain lifelong friends. I’ve had some crazy good and crazy bad experiences that I will never forget and I’ve learned so much. I’ve done a lot of growing, both professionally and personally, and I will be forever grateful to ACS for allowing me to fight back against a disease that took my best friend away from me. I will never, ever regret taking that “left turn” in my life.
But I’ve done my time, I’ve helped raise $1.5 million and I’ve done 19 Relays, not counting the seven St. Charles Relays I did for fun. I feel good about what I’ve accomplished and I think my dad would be proud. I’m ready to get back to the world of communications and start writing full time again. While fighting cancer is something that I will always have a passion for, my true passion that I’ve had since I was a kid was writing. It’s what I’m good at, and it’s what I went to school for. I’m ready to take on this next chapter in my life!
PS – As I was wrapping up this post, this song started playing on Spotify. Man, life is weird.