Happy New Year, Fredericksburg. It’s hard to believe that it’s January and even more difficult to believe that it’s 2016. I remember 2000 like it was yesterday. All of the hopes, dreams and mystery of a new millennium and a new century made dreamers of us all. I remember resolving that I would still be living in Pittsburgh at this time in my life working for one of the large national advertising agencies headquartered in the city. I was back in Virginia within eight months for family reasons. Funny how that happens, huh?
We never know where life will take us and when it will shake up our comfort. When I moved back to Virginia, I felt like I would never reach those dreams I had earlier that year. How could I? I wasn’t even in the right city anymore. I eventually hit a low point a few years later and dealt with many lean years. It took me four years to realize what was happening and another six years to have the courage to accept it and act on it. I learned working in advertising wasn’t my real dream — it was having a family and pursuing writing. I wouldn’t have learned this without the interruptions I’ve faced since 2000. My interruptions included leaving the city I loved, losing what I considered at the time a dream job, divorce after five years of marriage, the death of my grandmother, the birth of a child and a house fire. Each of those interruptions had a lesson attached to them that pointed to those desires. Without those incidents, I wouldn’t be where I am doing the things I love with the people that matter most to me. Interruptions are the check engine lights of life. If we listen to them (and not get frustrated or discouraged by them), we may find them more useful in becoming better people, finding our genuine passions and creating real and lasting change in our lives.
Do you have a present interruption? If so, look for the lesson. I promise you that there is one. Your future self will thank you for it.