Quarter-Life Crisis

14Aug13

Don’t laugh – I think I am going through a quarter-life crisis. These past few weeks have been utter turmoil and within the chaos I had an epiphany of what I want to do with my life.

I want to make a difference

Yes, it is vague. No, I have no idea how it will happen or what I will do to make it happen. I just know that I want to make a difference in the world. When I die, I want people to talk about the lives I touched and the changes I made. I want to leave this world knowing I made it a better place. I want to feel good about every decision I make. I want to share the good fortune I have been able to experience.

Let’s back up a little bit. On July 29, heaven received another wonderful angel who left this earth entirely too soon. Mrs. T lost her battle with illness and joined her husband on the other side. I think I have gone through every possible emotion. Ever since Mr. T passed, Mrs. T has been in and out of the hospital and her health was steadily declining. Her body had gone through so much and there is only so far you can push. At first, I was really angry with her. She was really lonely and sad after losing her husband, and I thought she was just giving up. I was really mad at her for giving up. She had two sons who loved her dearly and a whole life to still live. But then came the realization that maybe, just maybe, she had given her fiercest fight and we had just come to the end. She was probably sicker than she ever let on and made sure to be strong for Mr. T as he continued his battle with Parkinson’s. When it came time to finally take care of herself, there was nothing left. And I became very sad wondering if there was more that I could have done for her. She was always putting everyone else in front of herself and had an instant connection with everybody. She was warm and motherly and she had become my second family. My mother may have started as her employer, but it ended with them being the closest friends. My poor mother is devastated. Mrs. T was her best friend. Mom does not have many people she confides in, in fact she didn’t have anyone except Mrs. T, and the feeling was mutual. After Mr. T passed, my parents were Mrs. T’s go-to, she did not trust anyone outside of her sons to help her.

Mom called me while I was in Texas that Mrs. T took a turn for the worst and may not make it. I was in shock. Throughout all the hospital visits and doctor’s appointments, it never occurred to any of us that she would go so quickly. It became a never ending cycle, but never with this finality. Thank goodness, I was able to visit her when I returned. She had ammonia in her blood, which made her very confused and disoriented. Her liver and kidneys were already failing. I went straight to the hospital from the airport and my heart absolutely broke when I saw her. She looked nothing like herself. I sat with her for a bit and could do nothing but pray and cry. I will forever cherish those last moments with her. The last thing she ever said to me was “I love you”. I can never thank God enough for giving me this sweet final memory. They moved her to a hospice that night. The doctors said she would fall into a comatose state and go in her sleep, so there would be no pain. And she did just that. We went to the hospice the next day, and she was sleeping. We knew it would not be much longer. Her boys sat by her side all day and night and just held her hand, very hesitant to leave in case the inevitable happened. The call came Monday morning,  was one of the hardest phone calls I have had to endure.

Her memorial service was held on August 10. It was an absolutely beautiful service full of laughter and tears. Her dearest friends spoke of her outgoing nature and her selfless heart. She is another wonderful person who I wish I knew more about before her passing. Her sons put both their parents in a joint urn to be buried at their church. I cannot even imagine what they are going through, losing both parents in an 8-month span.  It has been a treacherous 8 months. As horrible as it is, I know she is at peace now. She was in so much pain for so long that I am relieved she is in a better place. I cannot imagine the torture she went through the past years. I don’t think it fully hit me until we were sitting in the church during the service, I completely lost it. She touched so many hearts and lives and left a lasting impact on anyone she met. She will always be one of my biggest inspirations for as long as I live.

Two days after the memorial, I was on a plane for Puerto Rico. My company has been working with HUD on projects and trainings in the area and it was time to see what we could do to take it to the next step. It involved sending a delegation to San Juan for 3 days of meetings and tours to see how we can take it to the next level. This trip has been fascinating for me. Being a meeting/events planner, I usually stay on the outside of it all. I coordinate the logistics and make sure people are where they need to be, but the content is completely hands-off for me. I have been able to sit in on some of these meetings and see the work firsthand and I’m amazed by how much I do not know about what we do. There are so many facets of this company and I had no idea what went into each sector. This trip has been especially eye-opening because we have people from almost every scope in the company, each looking at these meetings with a different lens. They will then come together at the end and collaborate ideas and what we can/can’t do and how they want to move forward. It has really been fascinating for me to really see how it all comes together. I am ashamed to admit to how little I know about what really goes on. I am able to disconnect from it all, completely focus on the logistics and walk away. While I am doing my part, it does not make a big impact in the grand scheme of things.

Between this trip and losing my second mom, I have been taking a really hard look at my life. I want what I do to matter. How am I achieving that by coordinating and walking away? I had an interesting discussion with one of our VPs about the art of facilitation. Anyone can coordinate logistics, it’s an art form to be a good facilitator. And it is something the events team should be incorporating into our work. Instead of solely focusing on the outside, go a little deeper into the outcome of the meeting and what I can do to enhance that. How can I use my position to make this memorable for the majority of people? Quite honestly, I never thought if it that way. The way we have been structured has not really lent itself to this way of thinking. This mentality could make us more of an asset. It has never fallen to us to assist with content, but why not? The content and logistics go hand-in-hand for a successful meeting. I could leverage my position to be more than what it is. At first, I was slightly offended and thought she was telling me how to do my job or inferring that I was not doing my job. But the more I digested, the more I realized she was talking about how to take my position one step further. It is a way to make the impact that I am looking to make. I will fully admit, I have become very complacent in my job, it’s almost like I am on auto-pilot. I have been missing the passion I first felt and I was not really sure how to get it back. But this could be the first step.

I’m not sure what this all means. I don’t know if i’m just on a high from this trip or if my brain is in overdrive. But I know I want the work I do to matter. I want to have the same passion the delegation has about what they do. I don’t want to be on auto-pilot anymore, just doing what we are doing because that’s how we’ve done it. I want to do better. Not sure if it is in the field I am in or if this will take me a different path. Where ever that takes me, I want to face it head-on and not be scared to make the leap. I want to be the change I see in the world.

“What ought to be can be, with the will to make it so.” – Jim Rouse

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