The Road That Led to Now

It’s amazing how seemingly insignificant moments in life can become catalysts for major change.  At least that’s what I’ve been told.  And it must be true because I’ve witnessed the phenomenon time and time again.

I tend to be the type of person who thinks I always know what path I’m walking when, in reality, I could stumble upon a fork in the road, trip over a tree root, or walk right into a dead end at any moment.

I think I can trace my first fork in the road back to my senior year of high school.  I desperately wanted to go to NYU and pursue a theater/drama degree.  (Does the “desperately” show my penchant for theatrics?)  One look at the cost of tuition, though, and I found myself at UNCW the next August instead.

It wasn’t a bad place to be, but for some reason at the end of my freshman year I decided that as much as I loved acting, I didn’t have what it took to actually be an actress.  I can’t pinpoint the particular tree root in the road which caused this loss of faith, but I’m sure there was one.

I switched majors.  To Criminal Justice.  I thought I’d go to law school and maybe be a criminal attorney, a prosecutor or public defender (I always went back and forth on which side of the court I wanted to be on).  I worked hard, got good grades, and took the LSAT.  I applied to four different schools, confident that my 3.97 overall GPA and 4.0 major GPA would earn acceptance.  Only, they didn’t.

Facing a dead end for what felt like the first time in my life, I decided to take some time off.  I moved home with my parents and waited tables to save money.  I was reading Pride and Prejudice for the twentieth-or-so time and realized I should get an English degree.

Of course!  I’d always loved to read.  Why hadn’t I thought about it before?  The fact that I didn’t take a single English course in undergrad didn’t discourage me from this new path on the road.

So I packed up and moved to Raleigh, enrolling in two graduate level courses in English Literature as a Lifelong Education student.  I loved every second of it.  But I hit another dead end.  The semester came to a close and I couldn’t afford all the costs associated with applying to and continuing a graduate program.

Instead, I moved back home again and tried to kickstart another new career.  I landed an internship with a wedding consultant.  I know, I sound like I have multiple personalities, right?

After six months, the consultant I was assisting announced that she and her family were moving, but she knew of someone I could work with.  I switched companies and began taking on my own clients. Yes!  Great!  I thought I finally found my career.

And maybe I did.  I don’t know.  I’m still working weddings, but I don’t have enough clients to do it full time.

Being a single girl who is constantly surrounded by wedding bliss isn’t as difficult as I expected it to be.  In fact, I love watching the happy couples I work with pledge to spend their lives together.  It’s amazing to be a part of that kind of love.  At least, it was until…

My younger sister got engaged.

I knew it was coming.  Our whole family knew it was coming.  But it still felt like my feet got tangled up in a huge tree root, sending me face first into the dirt and gravel.  Younger sisters aren’t supposed to get married first.

But I handled it.  What else could I do?  And I really was happy for her.  She choose a great guy who really loves her, how could I deny her that?  When she asked questions about planning or etiquette, I was excited and pleased to lend my expertise.

It was the constant reminders from my mother that drove me to tears on more than one occasion, though.  Poor Mom!  She didn’t know, how could she, how much it hurt to be reminded every day that I WAS NOT getting married.  And not only that I wasn’t getting married, but that I probably wouldn’t be for a very long time.

So, one evening, after listening to her complain for the millioneth time about not being able to give my sister more money for the wedding, I decided I needed to do something to take control of the feelings of desperation surging through me.

It was another fork in the road.

On that day, I picked up a pen.  And began to write.

12 thoughts on “The Road That Led to Now

  1. Rachel, this is def. what you are meant to be doing! I loved the journey you took me on. Your words were so vivid, there were highs and lows and I felt it. Keep up the good work, I’m a fan already!

  2. Great starting point for your blog. We’ve been together on tnbw together for a while, but now I know a bit more about you through this piece. You done good here. 🙂

  3. Sharing your heart and passion is never boring. All writers have cool things to tell the world. I really enjoyed hearing about your catalyst to pick up the pen. Rock on!

  4. Rachel! I haven’t talked to you in so long, but I ran across your blog on facebook and I just read your “fork in the road” story. I felt like you were summarizing my life for the last 7 years! Switched majors (and schools) in undergrad multiple times. DID go to law school, and I have to say: be grateful that you did not! I’m now massively in debt, do not want to practice law (and dread the thought), and I’m living with my parents while I apply for jobs that require a Bachelor’s or less…and yet I cannot even get an interview. Now I spend my time praying for employment and watching as my friends get married and have babies. Mind you, I am a-okay with not heading down that road right now, but a paycheck would be really nice right now. Anyway, I have a lot of “shoulda, coulda, wouldas” just like you (just call this my quarter-life crisis), but I hope that it leads me to something great like your forks in the road have led you!
    Becca M

    1. Wow, Becca! Oh my goodness, its so good to hear from you. Sounds like we did take similar paths! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you on the job front. It sucks being out there looking. My current 2 jobs pay me absolutely nothing, so I really should be looking, too, but I’m being lazy and writing all the time instead. Keep me posted here or via facebook as you keep traveling down the bumpy road, I’d like to see where it leads you!


  5. Oh I’m sorry you were made to feel that way…but I really hope that the journey since has been rewarding. It sounds like it must be, if you’re still blogging 2-3 years later! Best of luck to you in finding where you’re meant to be.

    (Popping by from Claire LaZebnik’s link up!)

    1. Jade,

      Thank you so much for stopping by. I’ve been so swamped, I haven’t even been back on facebook to look at everyone’s posts, but hopefully I’ll be able to soon!

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