July 3rd, 2014
Reasons, Seasons and Lifetimes
There is a quote floating around the Internet that talks about the impact that people have on your life. The message indicates that every person, independent of the length of time that they are with you, serves a purpose. That every individual, for that time, is an important character in that chapter of your story. It says that people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
I believe this is true.
There are plenty of people that have come into my life for a reason. Traci Maurer, an instructor at Bethany College, showed me that my best was something that people deserved always, even when "half-assed" (her words, not mine) would probably still be sufficient. I recall her giving me a B on an assignment that was visibly superior to my peers work ...she told me that she knew I could do better than what I turned in and while it might have been an A for someone else, that it was just a B for me. As angry as I was that day, it is a conversation that I will never forget. That assignment lowered my average in the course and cost me from graduating with honors. Lesson learned professor Maurer. Lesson learned.
I became friends in college with a guy who was in almost all of my classes. We got stuck sitting next to each other on a plane to a conference in Dallas, TX and the rest was history. His friendship, which has faded as life and time and distance took their toll, was something I sincerely needed. I was struggling at the time, something not unheard of when you're figuring out who you are and where you are going when you're in your early 20s. He taught me to not care what other people thought about me, that sometimes you need to cut loose and have a little fun, what I deserved from my own relationships and friendships and he introduced me to the Clarks. So Brian Geatano, thanks...
Most recently, I met a man who quickly became one of my most trusted confidants. Since he lives far away, our time face to face has been limited. A dinner here or there while he is passing through town on business. But the hours of conversation have taught me more lessons in a short period of time than many get in a lifetime. We've debated religion and discussed relationships and family and careers. Andy Hinkley came into my life for a reason, just when I needed him most. He taught me that it's ok to think differently and that you need to surround yourself with people who "get you". Andy gets me. And I am thankful.
Reason people teach you must needed lessons that without them specifically you might not discover.
There are some people that come into your life for a season. A person who in the movie of your life has a significant role for at least part of your story. There are lots of seasonal people that I could mention that have impacted me positively (and negatively).
Seasons, like chapters in a book, are defined by time. It could be time at a job or in school or living in a certain place. Season people are easy to spot...they blow in and out of your life depending on circumstance.
I worked in the pharmaceutical industry for nearly 10 years. This season brought into my life many people who had impact. Rick Ferguson, who taught me that if I wasn't making people mad that I wasn't working hard enough, Kim Foster, who was my good cop, in our good cop/bad cop scenarios with clients, and Claudia Gironda and Kelly Komorowski, who set the bar with regard to how I wanted to conduct my business shaped my life tremendously. Frank Brawner, my favorite sales partner of all time, made my job fun and I would like to think that my season in his life was also impactful and positive. I was older (and wiser) and Frank was younger and, well, less wise and we shared all kinds of twisted and witty insight into not just how we should approach our business, but how we were conducting our own lives. Frank and I have both since moved on from our days pushing drugs but I am happy that at that time, I had Frank-Furter, drug rep extraordinaire as my counterpart.
All of these people, and many more, truly don't know what an important role they played in my life during that season of my professional life.
Now my professional season includes former students and interns, an IT guy who has a sick sense of humor and a third floor group of colleagues that keeps things interesting...oh, and a family of Bordas's...I hope this season is a long one as I am sure these people have a lot to add to my experiences.
Personally, there have been many people who shared a season of my life. Staci Jones was one of my childhood best friends. We drove around in her vintage purple VW beetle convertible for hours talking about boys and music and where we would go to college. We laughed more than most people probably should about things that were ridiculous and silly and off the wall. We made up our own song lyrics. We worked at Grand Vue Pool. We trick or treated far long after it was age appropriate. We also got arrested. Nothing but a small fine of course. She burnt her eyeball ironing her hair. I will never recall my high school days and not think about Staci Jones.
After my divorce, when it was finally time to date again, I went out with a guy who was very important to that season of my life. He let me know it was ok to move forward independent of how damaged your heart was, he taught me to appreciate hockey, he encouraged me to jump out of a plane. He also taught me what I need (and what I don't need) moving forward. He also showed me that there are others who have gone through the same circumstance. Mike Breeden and I commiserated...but we had a ton of fun doing so. Mike's season was one of transition for me, and I wouldn't want to share that period of my life with anyone else.
Brian Maddich changed my life. In a good way. Never before, in such a short period of time, has someone impacted me so relevantly. Brian set the bar for honesty and I can without hesitation say that my time being close with him will forever be my benchmark for how I want my future relationships to be. His kindness was unparalleled, the way he treated his friends, unrivaled. Brian opened my eyes to things that I hadn't wanted to look at in years and showed me that you should never, ever settle for less than your dreams. He also introduced me to golf and the jury is still out on whether or not I am thankful for that. Thank you Bri...a million, million times thank you.
Seasons aren't always long, but they are significant.
Lifetime people are the main characters. These are the people that without them, your life story would forever be changed.
I am close with my family. As an only child, you can't help but be. Clearly your family is with you for a lifetime, but I can honestly say that my parents have far exceeded their obligation to me as their daughter. They have always had my back and told me the truth regardless of whether or not it was what I wanted to hear. They have been my best friends and I hope that someday my children will look at me and feel the same way.
My lifetime list is long, but there are some that rise above. These are people who came in my life, stayed and that I can count on to be there through the remainder of this story.
Jennifer Golden is one of these people. Jennifer is the strongest woman I know. Hands down. Nobody even comes close. My life is forever changed because of her friendship and there is no way I would have navigated the last three years without her. I don't know what or why or how either of us ended up in Marietta, OH but I am so glad that we did. Jennifer Golden is proof that everything happens for a reason. Otherwise how would a gal from Toronto, Canada end up becoming best friends with a girl from Moundsville, WV? Our friendship happened because it was supposed to.
Michele Rejonis, Jessie Sutphin, Wendy Clutter. These are the women who I will end up living in a beach house with in Florida someday. The golden girls revisited. Jessie has dibs on being Blanche, however. I'll stick to Sophia. Michele can be Dorothy and Wendy, Rose. I've got it all figured out. These girls, while all came into my life at different times, all have been there for me when others have not been. Personalities...all different, but for me, they all add something that I have needed in my life.
There are others, Robb, Mark, Monique...people who you had no idea at the time of your meeting that they would hold such an important place. But they do, and they always have, and you have no doubt that they always will.
I am certain that there are many more reason, season, and lifetime people to come into my life. I am so thankful that my eyes are open to the blessings that each deliver to me with their words and their experiences. I can only hope that my presence brings some level of significance to theirs as well.
Embrace your friends. Listen to their words. Learn from their teachings. Friends help you to write your story so recognize and appreciate the role they play. I'm happy for the cast of characters that have blessed my life so far and I'm looking forward to seeing how this story ends for all of us.