Four years ago, I stood in front of this fireplace. I stood in awe of the brickwork that had remained intact since 1733, the musty smell, the history of the family who had lived there that I left feeling like I knew, the goosebumps, the energy. It was majestic. Today, scrolling through Instagram, seeing that exact spot, that fireplace, all of it came flooding back.
Sometimes, all it takes is a feeling, a spark, a smell, a moment, that changes your entire being. This moment was that moment for me. I can’t explain it but suddenly all the murky ideas of what I wanted to do with my life dissipated and suddenly, I just knew- and I felt so completely whole. Like I had found my purpose. God had drawn me there to show me my purpose.
Then, I had just gone back to college after spending 7 years in the medical field. I had always known my future did not rest where I was but I didn’t know, with any kind of certainty, what else I wanted to do with my life. I dropped out of high school as a sophomore, got my GED and went one semester at OTC, studying to be a psychiatrist 🙄, before I dropped that too. Soon after, I became a CNA, worked my way up and ended my medical career an MA at a local doctor’s office after doing a seven-month stint in the MICU- which was the last heartbreaking straw for me.
In 2013, I went through a bitter divorce and worked overtime to provide for my eight-month-old son and I. I became a single mom. I moved in with my mom and sister, ate Ramon noodles, and struggled emotionally mostly because I felt stuck. Stuck in my job, stuck in my life, stuck on my mom’s couch.
Then, in 2014, Ben paid off my old college debt from that one less than successful semester that I could no longer afford to pay on, so I could go back to school. Because he knew how unfulfilled I was. He knew my potential and he knew how important going back to school was to me. I wanted to be a history teacher.
I’m 2015, we took that vacation. Our first family vacation, the first one with my firstborn son, the first I had ever planned, paid for and gone on as an adult. The one that changed my life forever the moment I stepped foot in Drayton Hall Plantation.
Now, I am entering my last year as a Masters student in history specializing in American Studies and specifically, Civil War-era medicine, wartime medical reform, and Army Medical Bureaus. I have been blessed to be able to travel on research grants and scholarships to continue my research and to deliver presentations on my findings to local historical societies.
I get to transcribe original war documents. I get to preserve and teach history every day- and the feeling I get every day researching, writing, and teaching is just the same as the clarity I felt standing there, admiring this magnificent colonial-era fireplace.
This month, I will apply to Ph.D. programs. Maybe one day I’ll be a doctor after all, just not the kind I used to think I was called to be (mostly by the salary, if I may add).
The point I’m trying to make here is, it is never too late. It is never too late to make a change- it’s never too late to change your life, your path, your relationships, your situation. There is never “nothing” you can do. There is always something, always some goal no matter how small, you can work toward to better yourself and your life.
You only get 100 years. 100 years to leave a legacy, 100 years to find yourself, 100 years to be of service to yourself and others, 100 years to enjoy life. Don’t miss out on that because you’ve lost sight of your strength and control. You ARE capable of EVERYTHING you set your mind to. Everything. There is never an excuse not to live up to the potential God gave you. You will make it, and once you get there you will be so glad you took that shaky, sweaty palm, “but what if”, leap of faith.
Follow your heart, follow HIS signs- everything else is noise.