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Our past changes us in many ways and shapes who we become in the future. While I would have wished for some things to have been different for me, it has shaped who I am and I try to learn and grow instead of dwell or regret the past.
I dealt with many challenges very early on in life: being homeless a few times, living with a bipolar mother, not sure when we would have food to eat, when my mom would have to be sent away the next time, or if this time her suicide attempt would stick. I got my own apartment when I was 16, worked full-time, was in marching band and a drum major, and finished high school in the top of my class. From the time I could remember, like back when MTV was cool and rocking out to Madonna and Michael, I knew I wanted to be successful and to be able to take care of myself and college was the ticket. After high school, I started at a local community college and continued to work not only a full-time, but also a part time job to be able to support myself.
At that time, my small hometown had a massive drug problem. After taking all of the classes I could at the community college, I needed to move to go to a university and wanted to get away from the scariness I could see taking over those I loved. I also needed to put a little space between my mom and me. I was also massively struggling with my weight and health. I was 20 years old with blood pressure so high I was scared I would have a stroke at any moment. I moved to Colorado with my high school sweetheart and continued in my Bachelor’s program in accounting. We got married, I had gastric bypass (more on that decision and how it changed my life is to come), and then we got divorced. Gastric bypass was not the only reason why things lead to divorce, but it did have a large part to play. I lost over 160 pounds in less than a year and became a whole different person. We started dating at 14 years old and the new me was nowhere near the same as the old me.
At 23ish, I found myself completely alone with only a handful of friends (lost most of the friends and family in the divorce), totally broke, in heavy debt, and trying to continue on the new healthy path I was on thanks to the surgery. I graduated with honors and went right into my Master’s program. I worked my tail off to get out of debt, rebuild my credit, finish school, and build my career in accounting. I met one of my “people” in the program and she has been a ray of sunshine in my life ever since. For the first time in my life, I could focus on me and learned to listen to what I really wanted for my life and try to decide who I was.
The next step for me was to sit for the CPA exam and holy (insert expletive) that was a challenge. One night I was supposed to be studying and a commercial came on for eHarmony. Doesn’t everyone study with the TV on?! I signed up on a whim and decided that if I was going to do it, I was going to make the longest, most intense wish list I could come up with. I had been at the time, what my friends called, a serial dater and I knew all of the things I no longer wanted to accept and what I really, truly wanted in a partner. Within a short amount of time, I was paired up with Rob. From the moment we met, I knew he was the one and we have been married for 7 years now! Oh and I passed the CPA exam.