At 18 or 19 years old, I thought I knew what I wanted to do in life. I came out of high school thinking I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I was going to head off to Baton Rouge and attend LSU for undergrad and then head to LSU Law, so I could work in a position where I would be able to help other people.
But I didn't get into law school. In fact I was rejected from every single school I applied to. I even took an LSAT class where people didn't understand why I was there...I got all the homework right all.....the.....TIME! How could I not pass that test!? It's a test....not a guy holding a gun to your head!
It's called choking. Yup....that's about what I did. Each time I walked into the test setting, I told myself "this is the test that determines the rest of your life." Ouch...looking back, that seems like a lot of pressure on a 20something year-old.
So, I sulked for a bit and then took the GRE and headed to grad school...at LSU of course :)
I started in Political Science with the idea of staying on track to go back to the law school thing, but eventually a good friend helped me realize I don't need a law degree to help people. I began working with student athletes while at the same time working in government. I was a part of two very different programs but they both allowed me to feel like I was helping people....I was making a difference!
Turns out my friend was right. I don't need a law degree to help people and make a difference in small and big ways. I pursued a Master of Liberal Arts with concentrations in Political Science, Counseling, and Higher Education (talk about a well rounded education!). I loved every second of it!
After an absolutely awesome SEVEN years at LSU, I finally stopped (because I couldn't afford being a professional student) and in the Spring of 2005 I accepted an internship with a smaller Texas school working in their athletic department. At that time, I was making....wait for it....$1,000 a month! (Yes, we all start at the bottom people. We all have to learn certain skills and knowledge that we are not taught in school.) I left home for the first time and had my own apartment and took advantage of activities on campus and saw a bright future.
But then August of 2005 rolls around and everything in my world shifted a bit. Yes, Katrina happened and for many people from New Orleans Katrina became a milestone in our lives. Things happened pre-Katrina or post-Katrina (this thinking may be shifting a bit as we get older, but it's still there).
August 28th...do you know where you were? I know exactly where I was at that time. I was helping move my mom from the West Bank to the Northshore. We were packing and not even paying attention until it was quite clear that Katrina was indeed coming. At that point what were we going to do? Leave her new house and all her belongings sitting....waiting for a huge storm to wage war? We stayed. We stayed and we were okay. I still hear the random voices of people calling in to WWL and telling Garland Robinette where they were and that the water was rising. I can still see the images toys and clothes left on the high-rise by the Dome. I remember the destruction I saw all along the entire gulf coast as I drove from my mom's house in Covington to my apartment in Texas and then to my sister in Pensacola. And every time I go to the Convention Center my heart still hurts. Yeah, Katrina was a doozy and did a number on all of us.
I moved home immediately (Rita just happened to follow my mom and I to Texas so we kind of had to return to south Louisiana) and took a job working as an executive assistant. I floated between jobs for a bit until I got an offer from an old friend for a great opportunity in DC.
DC was supposed to be a three year plan to gain experience and knowledge. I was moving to DC! How cool is that? I planned to bring all that knowledge and experience home to New Orleans and make a difference here. But it turns out leaving home for a place so far away from my family was truly one of the hardest things I've ever done in life and I hit bottom for a bit in DC. Talk about depression! AND in DC they don't give hugs and it's cold so there was no combatting it....
Eventually I got back up on my feet and learned to LOVE our Nation's capital. Working for the DoD I did some pretty neat things and learned so much about myself! I lived right up the street from the Capital and Supreme Court...who is not going to love that! But I still wanted to go home eventually and turns out getting a job at home wasn't so easy. DC turned into 6 years and a husband.
At that point I took what I could get and hated it! I was working on contracts and budgets...that was it....no interaction with the outside world at all. I took a long, hard look at myself, and thought about all of my previous positions and what I liked or did not like about each them.
- I'm a people person;
- I love helping other people;
- I love making things happen;
- I love happy people and good times;
- I like communications;
- I like being creative;
- I like managing and executing projects;
- I like planning....
I brainstormed and dreamed and asked myself "what would I do if I could not fail?" I slowly whittled my thoughts down from communications and public relations to project management and then finally to wedding planning and coordination. And I thought about how important a person's wedding day truly is and how much money we spend on it....and It's Your Time Events was born.
It's definitely not easy being a business owner and trying to make a living. In fact, it's hard as heck! When I first opened the biz, I had a full-time job then at one point I was able to do the business full-time, and then eventually went back to a full-time job with benefits and that could pay ALL of the bills (not just some of them). Talk about trying times! Am I a failure because my business hasn't been steady? Heck no! I'll get there eventually!
Life's a journey people. We're all going to do some form of falling down or choking on tests and getting depressed, but what is important is getting back up! We all have to make that decision for ourselves. Without going into details, I've been through some pretty tough situations and experiences. Things nobody thinks they will ever experience. And then you do experience them and you wonder if you'll make it back up...if you'll ever see hope again. I had to actively make that decision of whether to get up or stay down. I chose to get up. I might not be "30 flirty and thriving" (in fact I struggle quite a bit), but I am happy and I did choose hope over all the things that hadn't gone quite right in life. It's up to you to make your choice. What will you do?