In college I dreamed of landing a good paying job that I’d enjoy. I did everything I could to get there, too. I worked nearly full-time throughout my college career and held multiple internships. Admittedly, I was a bit of a hustler and did whatever it took to get where I thought I needed to be. You see, I come from a family of a lot of brokenness and financial hardships. Everything I experienced through those difficult years of my life shaped who I am today.
At a very young age, I knew I wanted to be different. First and foremost, I knew that my only option, and way out really, was education. I remember being in my senior year of high school and having no plans of what would come next. For a short period, I assumed that I would just get a job and work. No one in my family had ever gone to college, so why would I and how would I even get there?
I have two very distinct memories of people telling me something that completely changed the direction I was heading. One was a friend/classmate, Alie, who casually asked where I would go after graduation. I remember her shear shock of my reply that I didn’t have anything planned and would have to just find a job. The casual chat turned into her looking me straight in the eye and saying “Sheena, you’re better than that. You’re one of the smart ones, don’t underestimate yourself. Find a way.” I don’t think anyone had ever said anything so bluntly concerned to me before. But I still didn’t know what to do or how to start, and I even felt guilty about the idea of doing something bigger.
The next course-changer happened while working as a busser/hostess part-time at a little Mexican restaurant. One of the servers, Danny, was attending CSUSM and also volunteered as an advisor at my high school for college-bound students. We were pretty good friends, always joking around at work, but one day he asked me the same question of what my plans were after I graduated. He got the same answer, but he already knew what it was. He said he looked up my academic file and saw that I had a top ranked GPA, had been an honor student every semester, scored high on my PSATs (which I only took because everyone else in my class was), and most importantly, was one of only 30 graduating seniors eligible for applying and being accepted into a UC. Who knew?! I sure as heck didn’t! Again, the chat turned serious. He saw that I didn’t submit any requests for my transcript to be sent to any colleges and pretty intently questioned why. I still fell back on the whole not having any money for college thing and that it was too late to apply. He told me not to underestimate myself and gave me some direction as to where to start. I ended up enrolling at a local community college with the goal of eventually transferring. I still had no idea what I would “major” in or what I wanted to do. But just being there was a good start.
Fast-forward to today. I’m 26 years old, the wife of the most amazing man I’ve ever met, an owner of a beautiful home, a successful digital marketing manager at a wonderful company, and I get to regularly enjoy my favorite activities- surfing, rock climbing, photography, and just generally being outside with the people closest to me. Looking back, it’s incredible to see the life-changing power of people caring enough to say or do what might be uncomfortable. I am forever grateful for the handful of people who showed me they cared in some extraordinary ways. I thank God for these people.
But even with all these incredible blessings, I constantly find myself wanting more. It’s hard to put my finger on exactly what more is, but I feel like it’s most to do with how I spend my days between the hours of 8am and 5pm. My job. I love it, it’s what most marketing and creatives dream of. I work with the most amazing, talented group of people for some of the most admirable brands. It’s right by the beach, so a lot of us surf on our lunch breaks. Sometimes we’ll even hold ‘board meetings in the green room.’ For non-surfers, that’s a clever way to say surf meeting. 🙂 It’s just the company’s culture and there isn’t much I’d change. But I still have this feeling that I’m not where I’m supposed to be, or at least not yet.
Every experience over the years has taught me invaluable lessons about life, work, money, success, health, relationships, family, faith, and love. I think the lesson I’m currently in the midst of has something to do with courage, risks, trust, patience, and purpose. In other words, these are the things constantly on my mind and I’m probably driving Steven nuts with the new “career” idea I have every other week. I have felt called to so many things- professor, writer, photographer, and/or business owner of some sort are the most common. What I think I really want is a mix of all of them.
I’ve been told countless times that I’m assertive, entrepreneurial, a leader, smart, confident, strong-willed, and strong. I think those are just polite ways of describing my ‘hustler,’ whatever-it-takes, get-it-done, do-it-all (and sometime know-it-all) personality. I worry whether this feeling of wanting more, to do something different rather, is just my personality showing itself or if I’m really being called to fulfill my purpose in another way.
I also wonder if I just need to get used to finally being where I’m supposed to be. Working towards something is all I’ve ever known—towards graduating high schooI, towards saving money, towards a college degree, towards getting married, towards buying a home, towards a great job… everything I’ve ever done up until this last year has been working towards some goal, so it’s weird not really knowing what I’m working towards, if anything. I know starting a family is in the near future for us (calm down, it’ll still be a few years!), so I really want to find peace with this whole ‘purpose’ thing soon.
I have been praying a lot about all of this and I know God will continue to protect and guide me according to his plan. I hope opening up about all this might be helpful to others like myself. Or, if you’ve been through a similar phase, please share your wisdom!