Engaged at 19. Married at 20. Divorced at 25. When I was 19, that wasn’t the way the plan was “supposed” to work out, but getting married and divorced were some of the best decisions I’ve made.
With my ex husband getting remarried, I have had a few people bring my marriage and divorce to my attention. It’s amazing how you can go months or years without talking to people and they will show back up to remind you of things. So, it brought me to write this post.
My marriage and divorce weren’t mistakes and I don’t regret them. When I left my now ex husband, I was at a huge turning point in my life. I was married young and I thought I knew everything. I had a plan and I was sticking to it. When I finished my education and I started my writing career, all I wanted to do was dedicate time to my work. I was given opportunities to write professionally, travel and experience things I never thought I would be able to experience.
At the end, I was left with 2 options – choose marriage or choose my career. I took a risk when I chose my career and I was rewarded with incredible opportunities and personal growth.
During that time, I learned a lot about myself and I would do it all over again – the same exact way because, most importantly, at the end of it all, I fell in love with ME.
I’ve had some of the best experiences over the last few years. I’ve been able to grow in my writing career – I’ve written over 1,000 blog posts and edited thousands more than that. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel and explore places – all while working and writing while I travel.
At one point, I was told that I would never write a book and I wouldn’t make it as much more than the writer I was 4 years ago. You can count on me to write a book and I’ve become a much better writer than I was 4 years ago. I’ve even been accepted as a Contributor for The Huffington Post.
At first, I felt like a huge failure, but even though the path didn’t lay out exactly as I had planned, I haven’t felt more myself than I do now – and I wouldn’t trade the experiences I’ve had in the last few years for anything.
So here’s some of the opportunities I’ve had in the last few years.
I’ve been to the International Makeup Artist Trade Show in LA – and now I go every year – because that marriage turned me into someone I didn’t really want to be. Now, if I want to wear purple lipstick, I can do it without hesitation.
I’ve walked the Hollywood Walk of Fame and seen the real Red Carpet laid out for a Hollywood movie premier (just so you know – the Red Carpet is really not as cool as it sounds or seems in pictures!)
I saw the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, I stopped by the Full House house, saw the Mrs. Doubtfire house and had Ghirardelli hot chocolate in Ghirardelli Square.
I got to hear Mark Zuckerberg speak. I took a tour of the Google campus and I visited Facebook and LinkedIn.
I’ve been to Houston and learned from Dr. John Demartini.
I walked on the rocky beaches of San Diego.
I saw Arianna Huffington speak about writing.
I went to New York and walked the streets of Manhattan in high heels and red lipstick (I always imagined real magazine editors did that. Turns out, they don’t…because walking in New York in heels is TOUGH.)
I’ve been to the top of 1 World Trade Center and been to the Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center. I’ve been close enough to see Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
I stood outside Radio City Music Hall and thought about the days I dreamed of being a Rockette.
I went to Canada, had poutine and stood in amazement at Niagara Falls.
I took an Architectural Boat Tour in Chicago and ate deep dish pizza.
I met Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund and went white water rafting with The Puns Guys.
I’ve seen incredible shows, spent a few dollars on slot machines and danced the night away in a little black dress in Las Vegas.
I’ve had some really delicious food – some of the best steak dinners and some of the best street food arepas. I’ve seen some really different cultures and I’ve had the chance to see a world I didn’t even know was out there.
It’s not about the travel – it’s about being able to get out and see that there is a world much bigger than my hometown. It’s about realizing that the marriage I had and the divorce I went through were two of the things that helped make me the woman I am today.
My life has had a lot of twists and turns, but it’s been pretty incredible, too. And I wouldn’t trade it or change it because I’ve learned the most valuable lesson – I’ve learned how to be myself, chase after the things I want in life and experience a little bit more than East Tennessee.