Rediscovering Me

Life has a funny way of working out.

The other night when I was getting ready for bed, I began to think how I loved writing and questioned why I hadn’t been writing all along. This past year of my life has felt that much more full since recording all of my ideas; I needed this outlet.  However, this love of writing is not a new discovery–I just allowed it to get a little dusty, tucked away in the corner of a shelf.

When I was eight years old, I decided I wanted to be an author when I grew up.  I loved reading and  creating my own stories, and I knew an author was what I was meant to be.

A few years later I learned a fancier term: journalist.  Then I told everyone that I was going to be a journalist.  I constantly had to explain myself when people would respond to my desire by whipping out a pretend microphone and the stock sentence, “This is Jennifer Vignola, reporting live from the scene,” –that that wasn’t what I wanted to do.  I wanted to write.

So with the passion for writing that I developed as a child, I entered college without a clue as to my major and eventually became an English teacher.  Instead of writing myself, I attempted to teach those who hated the written word to write and then wondered why I didn’t look forward to my job in the morning.

Truth be told, I went years without writing, except for the required essays that I wrote as a student.  Somewhere along the way in high school, feeling the pressure of AP classes and competitive gymnastics, I pushed aside my love.

My incessant need to plan every moment of my life got in the way, too.  I always knew I wanted to be a mother and that I wanted to stay home when I had children, so I spent hours in the career counselor’s office trying to figure out what career would fit the best with motherhood.

I had so many interests, and there were a plethora of careers that sounded appealing: journalist, lawyer, psychologist, actress–too many to decide.  So when I went to college and agonized over my decision that first year, I decided to pick a career that used my passion for literature, forgetting about my passion for writing because I had stopped doing it.

I wanted a career that made a difference in the world, so teaching seemed the best choice.  If I decided to continue to work after my children (who didn’t yet exist) were grown, my teaching schedule would coincide easier with their own schedules than another career.  The only problem with this plan was that teaching wasn’t my passion--teaching others about one’s passion isn’t the same as doing one’s passion. I had chosen my career based on external factors that hadn’t yet come into play rather than my heart’s desire.

Luckily, I discovered I was in the wrong place before investing too much time in that career.  I left teaching and joined the Air Force.  For the first time, I looked forward to going to work in the morning.  I loved the discipline, the ritual, and the challenge of leading others. But shortly after joining, my husband and I found out we were going to have a baby a little sooner than we had planned, and I knew I was no longer in the right career.

So after three years and three children, my husband bought me a laptop.  He knew I had a passion sitting tucked away on a shelf that needed to come down and get a good dusting. And for the last year, I have written, and writing has changed me.

My children are my number one priority right now, but I can still challenge my mind and do what I love while giving them my full attention.  Writing is not a career, yet, but I now have a purpose in line with my passion.

I’m not sure why it took 11 years after I graduated from college to figure out what I knew when I was eight. Maybe God had a particular student I was supposed to reach or an airman I needed to lead.  Or perhaps God was shaking His head as I meandered along different paths while He gently nudged me back on the one He knew was best.

I’ll never know for sure, but I know now that, for the first time, this course feels right.

What did you want to do when you grew up?  Are you doing it now?  Share in the comments!

12 thoughts on “Rediscovering Me

  1. I think there a few children’s books tucked away on that same shelf. And, since God’s timing is perfect, you are exactly where you are supposed to be in your journey. You are young and very gifted so, having had other experiences before you renewed your passion ,has enhanced your writing.

    Just look at how many blogs have been centered on the kids or daily events. Tell us about something that really stands out that happened in the Air Force . Talk with you later, love, ♥ Mom

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    1. I, agree, to an extent. I just wish I had kept writing through all my experiences, whether or not I was pursuing writing as a career. As far as the Air Force, I'd love to share, but so much of what I did is Classified information. Haha 😉

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  2. This was in my devotional this morning, Live your Passion. I pray that God will open doors for you to share your passion with others!
    “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:6-7

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  3. I wanted to be an artist and a writer when I was a child and I still do. I also wanted to work at a funeral home…and I still do. I'm not sure why funerals and death and cemeteries call to me. But they do.

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    1. There was a girl in one of my college classes who worked in a funeral home; I believe it was a family business. I would imagine that kind of work requires one to be very compassionate. I could never see myself working in that field, but it's obviously a field that will always need workers!

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  4. You echo much of my thoughts. You know how much I like to write and we talked about it many times. However, even though I made some attempts , it never really
    materialized. I realize, I've put it aside to take care of the more pressing things, such as working to support my family, and the last several years, my time in
    service to the Lord. (Not to mention other activities I put before it.)

    As I told you, my English teacher tried to push me towards Journalism but I thought I was a better judge as to what I was qualified for. There are a few regrets in my life but I am enjoying your journalistic skills and have discovered… my daughter has a sense of humor and it really shows itself in your stories.,

    Keep it going daughter, I am proud of you. You have always reached out for what you wanted and not afraid to work to achieve your goal.

    Love you,
    Dad

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    1. I read a book that basically said we should make sure we focus our time on those activities that energize us, use our strengths. The book (Find Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham) is written to women, and I didn't agree with everything in it because I don't think it fairly addresses the stay-at-home mom. With that being said, I have tried to re-focus my life lately with time for me. Writing provides me that time, even if it is at six in the morning. And while I can't pursue a full-time career right now because I'm at home, I can pursue a freelance writing career without feeling like I'm neglecting my kids.

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  5. I was an English major in college — but I never really knew what I wanted to be. I sort of fell into a career in editing and communications, a little marketing and PR thrown in there, too. I didn't start writing until about 4 years ago — I mean writing creatively. I have always done writing for my job, but never for myself. And now I find I can't stop. I even wrote a book (not published of course!).

    Hey, it's nice to meet you here…and thanks for visiting my blog a couple weeks ago (sorry it took me forever to stop by — we were on vacation, and I got so behind!)

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to share! I think that's wonderful that you are writing for yourself now. I hope to write a book someday, too. Right now, my struggle is finding uninterrupted time to write. I've been waking up early every morning, but last week, my kids woke up early, too! I'll just keep trying, even if I only get a few sentences written every day. Eventually, a system will fall into place (or so I hope).

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  6. One of the things I like regarding reading through sites like this, is the fact that there aren’t any spelling or grammatical errors! Causes it to be tough on the reader sometimes. Very good work upon that and also the subject of this website. Thanks!

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  7. Thanks for making the effort to go over this, I feel highly about it and adore learning more on this topic. If at all possible, while you acquire knowledge, would you mind updating your blog with more info? It is extremely ideal for me.

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