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Saturday, May 02, 2015

In Search of a Destiny!

Jean Sexton muses:

May 2, 2013 isn't a day that many people remember, I suspect. I will, because it was a watershed day for me. I left a place I had lived for over 16 years, a job I had for over 29 years, a state I had lived in for over half a century and headed west. I was in search of my destiny and myself.

But what was my destiny? Why was I searching for it? Would I know it if I found it? Who was I really? Was I defined by my job? Was I defined by my location? Was I defined by my family? Where was I going? These were and are valid questions.

I am not sure that a person ever finds his destiny as long as he is living. "Destiny" has the same roots as "destination." To me, life is a journey. I am forever traveling that road and learning from it. Sometimes that path loops around for a while, but shaking up the path is a good way to continue to find new ways, learn new things, and to grow as a person. I had been on that circling path for a long while. If I didn't do something drastic, I would be drawn back into that whirlpool, spinning along, coasting in the quiet spots, finding turbulence in the same spots. Leaving familiar territory, but having friends near was a good way to find a new path.

But why? I had become both comfortable and yet unhappy on the path I was circling along. I knew what to expect each day. I knew what was expected of me. And yet, where I lived was dangerous -- in fact one of the most dangerous places in the United States. Just because I understood that where I lived was likely to be broken into once a year didn't make it safe. Just because I expected it didn't mean that was the life I was meant to live. I needed to find a place that was safer, a job that was challenging, and to do those far enough away that I couldn't go back to the easy, familiar path.

My job had become who I was in so many ways. I was a librarian -- a career I had wanted since I was about 10 years old. For so many years I was going to be a librarian when I grew up, studying to become a librarian, being a librarian. It was dumb luck, good fortune, call it what you will that provided a possible job where the "marketing" was being absolutely honest with the customers. Throughout my life, honesty has been something I am good at, much to the dismay of some (tact was something that I had to learn). Now my skill with words and honesty had an outlet quite different from anything I had imagined. It was and is a new challenge.

I am still shaped by where I came from and by my family. On a trip, you need to define a starting point. "Go 25 miles south" has an entirely destination when you start in Key West, Florida from when you start in Amarillo, Texas. In the former one, you'd best either be a world-class swimmer or have a good boat. In the latter, you are still on dry land, in the Palo Duro Canyon. For me, that starting point is my family and the town where I grew up and so many people helped shape my beliefs and values. Those shape who I am and guide who I want to be.

So on that fateful day in May, I turned out of that roundabout and set off to Texas. I had help on that -- friends who came over and helped me pack up my things for a quick exit from a potentially dangerous situation, Steve Cole and Steven Petrick who helped on the drive from North Carolina to Texas (Petrick drove the U-Haul with most of my stuff), and the anchor team of Leanna Cole and Michael Sparks who hauled everything I had shipped to Texas over to my waiting apartment. I appreciated and appreciate that help.

So now I have spent two years in Amarillo. I have learned more about this job. It is constantly in flux as we all learn to better utilize my talents. I am learning new skills and taking on new responsibilities. I am slowly learning more about my new home, its history and its geography. I feel safe for the first time in years.

So what is my destiny? I don't really know. What is my destination? I am not sure. I know I want to help people, to bring joy into this life, to be happy. I invite you to join me and see how this all unfolds. Maybe you will find your destiny, too.