Dear Dollie: My Future is Radiant

Posted on November 15, 2014 by

Dear Dollie,

The dreams I had for my future have grown and evolved so many times since the last time I saw you.

At 18 years old, I saw myself continuing to study nursing at San Francisco State University for 4 years. I anticipated graduating at 22 years old and finding a job in a local hospital. After gaining 2-3 years of work experience, I was going to go back to school to become a nurse practitioner. That would lead to me owning a family practice, primarily focused on pediatrics.

Instead, at 22 years old, I wrapped up my Junior year at the American University in Bulgaria. I then took a semester off to do an internship at the State Department in their Cultural Programs office. That position propelled me onto a career path in International Education. I graduated at 23 with a degree in International Relations, Political Science, and Anthropology.

Graduating was hard. Really hard. I wasn’t ready to leave behind the protective cocoon of college. I also wasn’t ready to leave the Balkans, a place I had made my home for 3 years. Fortunately, 3 days after graduating I got a position recruiting high school exchange students to come to the U.S. It was a 4-month contract job based in Belgrade, Serbia. I didn’t hesitate for a moment deciding to return to the region.

That position lead to a job in the organization’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. You would have been so proud of me – I know Grandpa was. Fortunately, I was able to spend the holidays in California between Serbia and D.C. It turned out to be the last Christmas we got to spend with Grandpa.

I started my job lit up with passion and enthusiasm. I saw myself working in that industry for the rest of my career. But the glow quickly dimmed. For reasons I’ll share with you later, I didn’t fit in with upper management and was left feeling emotionally drained, physically exhausted, and completely disheartened.

So, I packed up and left. Confidently recalling your words of wisdom, “never settle,” but awash with the fear that I would never find my calling. Similarly to my medical dreams, the path was so clearly laid out of what my future would hold if I continued in that position. But I knew, and still know, that there is something more that I am meant to do.

I’ve spent the last year trying to pin-point exactly what that is – a journey that has been demanding, shocking, exciting, and more illuminating than I ever expected.

I can feel it in every fiber of my being that I’m nearing the destination, or more realistically, the next stop on this trip called life.

Thank you for instilling in me the courage to become who I am truly meant to be. Your example resonates inside me and because of you I trust that my future is radiant.

Love,

Lacey Jewell

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Dear Dollie: The First of Many

Posted on November 2, 2014 by

Dear Dollie,

Last weekend was the 7th anniversary of the last time I saw you. I can hardly believe how much time has passed and at the same time feel like you’ve been gone even longer.

Not a day passes that I don’t think about you – sometimes just a passing memory, other times wondering what you would do in a certain situation, and still times when I wish so desperately to hug you that I feel my chest constrict.

Life is crazy. Adult life is crazy. Even more so than I ever could have expected. I recall so vividly sitting at your kitchen table, looking into your crystal blue eyes, and you sharing words of wisdom over peach cobbler and Nesquick hot chocolate. I tried to hold on to every word you said and certain affirmations have certainly stuck with me, like: “Don’t settle,” “Work hard,” and “Be true to you.” But there is so much I couldn’t comprehend yet at that age and now that I understand how challenging life is, wish so desperately to ask you those questions.

This is the first of many letters I plan to write to you. Though I often talk to you in my head, I need an outlet to share those thoughts with you. I hope that through doing this, your voice will become stronger inside of me and your wisdom will come into even sharper focus.

So much of who I am is because of you and I’m so grateful for the 18.5 years I got to share with you. Thank you, Grandma.

Love,

Lacey Jewell

 

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