There are always seems to be the very driven among us. These are the people who knew what they wanted to do at age 4 and never deviated. I was not that child.
Early in my life, it was determined by others that I would be an attorney. Not only was my father an attorney, I also seemed to talk a lot. It seems that this was interpreted as someone who would be a great litigator.
A dream that never felt real
“You should be a lawyer“ was the refrain of my life. It was said so often that I thought it was my natural path. Imagine at age 27 knowing that your heart was not in that very thing everyone said it was. That was me sitting on the floor filling out applications for law school at the University of Texas.
These days, I am more stunned that I actually thought about going to law school than the fact that I could have said no to other people's dreams for me. At 27, I found myself with a false dream and no life plans.
Drifting through jobs
All of a sudden, I had this life in front of me that I did not even stop to ask myself if I truly wanted it. For the next 13 years or so, I drifted. I was not a drifter in the sense of moving from town to town with nothing but a hobo bag on my back.
I found myself drifting from job to job gaining skills along the way. I always worked at small companies because at least I knew that corporate life was not for me. As I got older, I ended up better jobs and found myself as a Director at an Internet technology company.
Yet, I never held a job that I liked, much less loved. The jobs I chose were based on necessity. I still found myself with no life plan.
A new dream and a new diagnosis
I decided to leave my director job as it soon became mentally and emotionally abusive. I was not about to have that same experience somewhere else. I made a decision. At 42, I went back to school. I obtained two master's degrees back-to-back From Colorado State University, Global Campus.
With Management and Project Management degrees under my belt, I finally had a plan! I was going to help one or two-person businesses achieve their dreams. I was going to take those corporate concepts and scale them down.
That was my life plan. Then multiple sclerosis came into my life and made plans for me.
Despite MS, the dream is still alive
When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, everything stopped. The world stopped spinning. All of a sudden, I had to rethink.
I had finally found my groove. I plotted my life plan. MS said, “Nope. I have other plans for you.“ At the time, I did not know what they were. What I will say is that MS gave me moments of clarity that I had never had before. It made me stop and think about what I really wanted for myself.
Of course, I wanted to continue my consultant work. That dream was still alive, but something else was brewing. It was the siren call of service. Somehow I knew that I was called to be of service and to use my abilities to help others.
Moving forward with purpose
My MS journey has been quite easy compared to most in this community. It has given me a special kind of purpose within advocacy, especially within the research for the African American population.
The life that I had seen as meandering and drifting, actually had a purpose. That purpose was for me to bring all of those skills I gained and apply them to the work I do now.
John Lennon spoke words that I believe touch on my experience. “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” While I was following other people’s plans and then my own, life is what happened to me. I was making other plans while multiple sclerosis was making plans for me.
Gratitude is a part of my new plan
I hold on to no resentment for my jaded plans or the plans that could not be. I chose to simply embrace the new plans in front of me.
I am not going to lie or paint a rosy picture, it has not been easy to go from other people's dreams to my own dreams to the reality of MS. What has been easy is the gratitude that I feel for finally knowing my life‘s purpose. Multiple sclerosis may have taken a lot from me, but it gifted me clarity and happiness at finding my path.
How do you feel before getting an MRI done?