In the last few years, I had discovered so many different venues, people, talents, acquisitions, and various opportunities that have left me stronger, more flexible and grateful beyond measure. Why? Because I’m allowing myself to be open. Change is hard but not changing can lead to a lack of growth, respect, and comprehension. I choose to continue to discover what this wonderfully complex, adventuresome world has to offer.

I wanted children for a very long time. It wasn’t in the cards for me. I tried adoption, it didn’t work. I tried fostering, that too fell through, I had tried to carry to term when I was married but I failed at that. Pretty soon, I became bitter. I couldn’t understand why I was being denied this gift. It took me a long time to understand why my journey was going to be different from many of my friends and peers. I just wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready to allow someone else in my life. God was the one thing I was angry with. Oh did I let God have it. I yelled and screamed and fought for years with him why others were being blessed and I wasn’t. Little did I know that discovering myself would lead to more blessings than I could believe.

I may not physically have a child. But I have them in my life. I don’t have to understand why I wasn’t blessed with one of my own. Yet, I think that had I been successful in having my own child, I wouldn’t be able to be a positive influence with other children. We all have struggles. When I was married, I made a ton of mistakes. I wanted to be the cool adult. I was wrong. I let some of the kids get away with things that I shouldn’t have. I learned my lesson. I too was growing up and discovering who I was. Just because someone gets married doesn’t mean that they are ready to be taking on adult roles. I was dealing with a child for a spouse and I didn’t know how to handle it. In many ways, I was a mother figure to my husband. Lesson learned. Spouses need a partner, and not a parent. Juggling the roles was not easy. I had always wanted a true partnership and my spouse was not willing to let me know simple things like what he made. We needed to know for taxes. He later told me it was because he was embarrassed but I was just happy to know that I had his love. What I didn’t have was his respect.

Discovering our mistakes is just one part of life that we grow from. When my father died, I had lost my marriage, children, my job, and my self esteem all in about a decade. My heart was destroyed. I didn’t know how to fix anything. My mom sat me down and said let’s travel for a while. Numb with grief and loss, I agreed. We traveled to various countries in about a five year span. We went all over Southeast Asia, Spain, Portugal, and South Africa. South Africa was my favorite of all the countries. Spain was a close second. Espana is beautiful. The architecture is enchanting. You can truly feel the essence of all the various centuries. You can walk on cobblestone in various villages and see the lands with a sense of wonder and pride. Every country has stories that are beyond a volume book of telling. There are stories that will never be told and yet, you can feel the history if you allow yourself to discover the past along with the present. Before the corona virus, you could eat in the restaurants and smell the senses of sherry and olives. The food was so mouthwatering that you could almost swim in the dishes. Taste buds discovered flavors unlike anything to ever cross my lips previously and had the taste of the old country ready to divulge it’s wonders through it’s food and wine.

Siestas were an integral part of the discovery. Each terrain that we explored was filled with wonder and by the end of the day we were exhausted. The heat in some of the countries felt as if we were in the jungles of the Amazon. It was the first time that I ever discovered Cobras in alcohol. Laos had outdoor stores that were filled with what appeared to be counterfeit items. Marlboro cigarrettes were sold for double what they were in the states. I was glad I had quit smoking at that point. The animals that we saw in each country were beautiful. It was the first and only time that I had been able to feed an elephant. I had a baboon in my lap for a few moments. Those moments were precious and rare. They allowed me to discover a new side of myself. One that said I was now open to traveling and trying different foods. For anyone who knows me knows that I’m a very picky eater. But there, I was able to try octupus and white asparagus, and guess what? I actually liked it. I became a fan of cooking with olive oil. I learned to adapt to the ever changing environments that I was exploring and I learned to let myself discover that I was not the same shy, introverted, young woman who had left North Carolina behind. I was emerging like a caterpillar who morphs into the butterfly.

When I came back, it was all too easy to fall into a routine. I found a job that I was overqualified for but I needed the money. The bills weren’t going to pay themselves so I went to work for a local theater as an assistant manager. The money was horrible. The neighborhood was not safe. I was in constant fear when going to the bank to take the deposit. I never knew if I was going to get robbed or not and thankfully it never happened but the fear was still there. I knew I needed to get out of that job and I eventually did. Now I am really glad that I left because had I stayed, the theater would have closed anyway due to the virus and I would have been out of work altogether.

I went on various job interviews and discovered something else about myself. I wasn’t good at hustling. There are some people on this earth who have the gift to make anything sound like you have to have it at that moment. I’m not that gifted. I can do sales as long as I believe in the product but I can’t sell mice to cats. In some of the jobs that I interviewed with, you almost had to do that in order to succeed. One of the companies sold perfumes in parking lots. That wasn’t for me.

Eventually I fell into the storage world. My best friend helped me get a job with them. At first it was great because I could work part time and go back to school which I did. I was in my forties, had gotten my bachelors degree and not been able to put it to good use. So yes, I was frustrated with my employment options and decided to discover more about myself. Going back to school was the first step. I signed up for online classes. This is the kicker. When online classes first became available almost twenty years ago, I failed. I failed because I wasn’t disciplined enough to follow through. Then as time progressed, I matured, found that I needed to make myself get in there and work for things and wham, I was making good grades and actually learning valuable information on the world of social media marketing. I don’t recommend taking classes that you have no interest in because if you do, it will be difficult to focus. Of course, if it’s part of a curriculum, you just have to figure out how to get through the course but there are classes that I’ve taken in my life that I still use some of the principles today. A lot really depends on you and what you are willing to discover.

I could go on about a gazillion different things that I’ve discovered over the years but you get the gist. What we think we should have in life is not always what we’re meant to have. If we allow ourselves to discover new things, new people and places, then we open up a world that is bigger than anything we could dare to dream. Many people don’t have the money to travel and that’s okay. There are ways to travel without spending a dime. It’s not the same but books and shows help give an insight to the world around us. Taking a class or two in something that you want to learn more about can not only help you discover new skills, but it can also help you discover the levels of skills you may need in order to pursue what you love.

I’ve started learning to cook. I’m a great cook with a slow cooker but I wanted to learn more. I wanted to dive into healthier dishes and expanding my palate. It’s a work in progress but at least I’m making the effort to discover what I’m truly capable of. I really hope that you allow yourselves the opportunity to discover something new everyday. While we are all cooped up, you could take a nature walk and see if there are any flowers in bloom. You could see if you can identify the different types of herbs and vegetables you may need in order to try a new dish. If you like photography, why not take pictures of everything around you and see what you may find? These are just a few suggestions but whatever you decide to discover, I hope that it’s filled with wonder and fun. The best kinds of discovery are the ones that you can take with you whereever you may go.

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