I have always been a “fly by the seat of my pants” person. When I was younger, I was always up for an adventure. In high-school I was the wild “theater girl” among my friends, in college we used to explore the forest preserves at night, and as a young adult I was ready for a trip or a new job whenever the mood took me. As a mom, things are a little different – I tend to be a planner – but I’m still always down for a good dance in the rain. I have always been the girl that didn’t want to regret anything, and I truly try not to. The mistakes I’ve made I try to learn from, not regret. The successes I’ve had I try to appreciate, not hold any resentment toward the bumpy path I took to get there. I am certainly not perfect in any way, shape or form and this wild-child syndrome has led me to some questionable places, but I do love a good adventure.
I have mentioned in past empowerment posts that during college, I transferred schools. My boyfriend at the time lived in Cincinnati and I knew that I had to leave my current school (which I loved dearly) because I was getting more and more lost by the day. My future was cloudy and I just knew that if I stayed, I’d be stuck. I’m not sure I can form those feelings into words, but I felt like my newly maturing soul was drowning. My future was not bright and though I saw the fun experiences that my friends were having, I had to leave. I called my parents and talked to them about transferring to Cincinnati (a decision I had made and was going to stick to, because that’s what I do). I planned to move in with my boyfriend, transfer schools and continue on. And that’s just what I did. The morning of my move, my father came to my school with a U-haul to help me load my stuff and drive to Cincinnati. We packed up (with help from some friends sleeping on the couch) and started the drive. My dad and I talked the whole way and had a good trip. When we got to the Cincinnati area though, I had an intense moment of doubt. I actually remember saying out loud, “I don’t think this is right.” My dad thought that I meant the directions, but I didn’t. I meant the move.
I’ve thought about that moment over and over though the years and am actually so thankful for it. I can’t tell you that my move to Cincinnati was a mistake because I don’t think it was. Was it the right thing? I don’t really know that either – but it was a great experience for me to learn from. I learned that the relationships that you have when you’re young aren’t always meant to last, they’re meant to teach you things. (My former boyfriend is now happily married with child and I wish them well!) I learned that sometimes you have to be lost in order to find the path out of the woods. I learned that I am stronger than I ever thought I was. I learned that I can truly trust myself and my intuition. And I had some amazing experiences as well! The first time I saw RENT was in Cincinnati, thanks to my boyfriend’s parents. I got to visit the amazing Cincinnati Zoo often and I got to eat my share of Graeter’s Ice Cream (WAY before it was a national brand). And Kings Island? Please, I loved that place.
Not all of my decisions have been as challenging though. When my daughter turned one, I went to see Julie and Julia by myself as one of my first outings (away from the kids) since my daughter had been born. I had been mystery shopping regularly, couponing for fun and sharing all the deals via email with my family and friends. A few of the responses had been, “We’re so happy you’re excited! Please stop emailing these to me,” but I was still sleep deprived and doing what came naturally. About halfway through the movie, I had an epiphany. If Julie could start a blog on a whim, so could I! This wouldn’t irritate people by email and I could be as excited as I wanted. If no one read, that’s fine. I was having fun! I walked out of the movie with the name “Couponing For 4” and a laser beam focus about what I wanted to do. I got home and told my husband, “I’m going to start a blog!” His smiling response was, “Of course you are” (as it often is). And that is our dynamic to this day. I am the one with the ideas, he is the one who keeps us grounded. And if you can’t tell, this is one of those ideas that I’m very proud of. I loved running Couponing For 4 for 7 1/2 years, I loved (and love) being able to share with you, and I have no regrets.
Lewis Carroll said, “In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take, relationships we were afraid to have and the decisions we waited too long to make.” I try to hold this idea close to my heart. Don’t hold back! Own this life! Whatever your religious beliefs or beliefs on reincarnation, think of this experience as unique. This life could be your only one and it could be one of many, but make it one that you are proud of.