My Psychology of Personality professor asked us to stand up in front of the class and answer the question: who are we? A simple question, right? Wrong, I found myself unable to answer. Maybe if I was asked a few months ago I would have had a clearer answer. I can very easily tell you who I was. I was a 31 year old independent, hard-headed, determined, strong, blunt, honest, outgoing, social, loud (in a fun way), college going nanny. I was working towards helping children with Autism and other special needs. I was a person that adored going to work everyday, I sincerely loved hanging out with the special, amazing, fun and creative children I had the pleasure of being with all day. My mind was blown by these kids and the things that came out of their mouths. I was a part of their family; one time the 2 year old said to me, “my mom’s name is Alison, my dad’s name is Cole, what’s my Mila’s name?” I never would have thought the ending to that experience would come so suddenly.
When asked as a child about what I wanted to be when I grew up or where I saw myself when I turned 30, I had a much different plan. I drew a picture of myself surrounded by children, I always thought I would be a mother, no real career goals. I tried that when I was 20, I did the whole marriage and try to have kids thing, thankfully it didn’t pan out. My life really couldn’t be farther from what I drew in that picture. The more accurate picture would show a single, strong, independent woman. A woman very close to having a bachelors in psychology. A woman with a job she adores although excited to get to the next rung on the ladder. A woman that dabbled in promoting and booking bands because of her love for music. A woman of many talents and dreams to travel the world. A woman whose main career path was to benefit others more than herself. I was quite happy with the direction my train of life was headed until it suddenly derailed.
When I say derailed I literally mean derailed. I used to go camping with my father at our favorite spot near Rollinsville and there was a train track near by. Being the thrill seeking type, my brothers and I would go to the tracks, hop around, pick up rusty old spikes, and put coins on the track. The fun part was to try and find them after the train had flattened them into thin unrecognizable shiny pieces of metal. We were warned that we could derail a train, I was scared to death of doing that but I’m not one to follow rules, we had done it so many times without derailing the train. Well, my life train hit that one coin, most likely a thick golden dollar that didn’t belong on that track anyway. Needless to say my brain was following this track I had chosen, but my body had other plans.
According to the invincibility theory, teenagers think they are immune to dangerous, even life threatening things, I really feel that theory does not just apply to teenagers. Why do people smoke cigarettes even though there are known dangers to it? The invincibility theory. Crazy, painful, and dangerous things happen to people everyday! We are certainly not invincible, I learned that the hard way. What was I afraid of at 31? I have my whole life ahead of me right? I can take better care of myself later, I won’t have health problems until I’m old right? The moment I turned 30 and my train derailed, those questions were answered for me.
This is not a sob story, I am not looking for pity. There will be laughs amidst the seriousness. There will be honesty, joy, sadness, and pain. This is my journey, my new journey to repair my derailed train and find a new track.