Archive for the ‘Darlene’ Tag

the story of us: confidantes, pen pals, friends, and sisters.   2 comments

Some things never would be
But we know now that no matter how far we traveled on our own separate paths…
Somehow we would always find out way back to each other.
And with that, we could get through anything.
To us. Who we were, and who we are. And who we’ll be.
To the pants. 
And the sisterhood.
And this moment, and the rest of our lives.
Together and apart.

~Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants~

 

 Sisters touch your heart in ways no other could. Sisters share… their hopes, their fears, their love, everything they have. ~Carrie Bagwell

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The name Alisha frequently appears on this blog and her notes & profile pic tend to be all over my Facebook wall- especially right now.  But very few people know exactly who this remarkable, stunning lady is; and hardly anyone knows the entire Story of Us.  Well, until now.

Ladies & Gentlemen, it is my honor to tell you exactly how the Sisterhood of Alisha Thomas and Kristen Medica began a little over a year ago, and how since then we have gone from Confidantes to Pen Pals to (Facebook) Friends to Sisters.  As all stories tend to be told, let me start at the very beginning…

In January 2010, I enrolled in an online class through my alma mater, Ohio University, as a way to complete the pre-requisites for the Child Life certification.  So after my New Year’s guests left town on Sunday, January 3rd, I found myself mentally preparing for my first day (back) of school.  Human Relations ECED 410, here I come!

Like any first week’s assignment, we spent time getting to know our classmates by sharing a few details about ourselves.  Typically this is the worst assignment ever when you’re in a classroom and have to say something unique about yourself (which of course never applied to me).  However, being 4-years out of college and in an online format, I found myself enjoying this activity- especially hearing others’ stories and learning about their backgrounds.  And on top of that, our Professor Tom Shostak appeared to be incredible.  I think I’m really going to like this class.

On a fateful day in late January/early February, a friendship was born.  As I signed into Blackboard after work, I found myself touched by the courageous words written by Alisha Thomas as she admitted to her struggle with anxiety.  Being something that I knew a little too well, I (believe I) found myself writing a response applauding her for speaking out and admitting my own battle with those pain-strickening troubles.  Truth be told, I wasn’t sure if she’d respond but I knew I had to reach out to her. 

She responded, graciously, which marked our first electronic communication.  The first of many.  For a few weeks we exchanged Discussion Board comments and emails sharing our struggles with anxiety and life stories.  Through daily emails a friendship began as we confided in one another about fears, doubts, anxieties, insecurities, dreams, wishes, crushes, etc.    We found comfort in sharing our thoughts and the other’s responses of wisdom and encouragement.  Looking back, in only a few weeks Alisha became the younger sister I always wanted. 

“We should become Pen Pals,” Alisha wrote in one of her emails.  Always wanting a Pen Pal, I was thrilled.  “Yes! Absolutely!” can be my assumed responses. 

On February 22nd, exactly one year ago today, I wrote the very first entry in the Pen Pal Book.  (Obviously pictured on the right.)  She then, Alisha and I have shipped the book back-and-forth from Athens, Ohio (her) and Chicago, IL (me) every few weeks/months.  We fill the pages with our daily activities and life stories- good days, bad days, past experiences, lifelong dreams, crushes, heartbreak, and, of course, struggles with anxiety.  (Note: Fortunately anxiety takes up less space in the book as time goes on.)  We share favorite quotes and songs and suggest novels & movies for the other. 

And in the last few months, we’ve allowed others to share in our love for the Pen Pal Book.  Alisha’s brother, Jakob, commonly leaves his mark on the pages in the form of drawings and little notes.  I love seeing what Jakob shares with me!  My dear friend, Darlene, also shared in our joy by writing in the infamous book when I visited her &  Paul, last summer.  (Note: Like Alisha, my friendship/sisterhood with Darlene began electronically and I corresponded with her for 1.5 years before our long-awaited meet-up.)

Besides the Pen Pal Book, Alisha and I inevitably befriended one another on Facebook- which put faces to our names and email addresses.  And that, my friends, is how our friendship really began.  While we anxiously looked forward to receiving the Pen Pal Book from the other, we learned that daily communication was necessary too.  Not only did we enjoy Facebook stalking one another’s current crushes (lol), but through Facebook is how I began my love affair with Alisha’s family: Her 10-year old brother, Jakob, and mother, Kelly.  It really didn’t take long before I started seeing them as my family.  🙂

A few months ago I had the idea that I was going to surprise Alisha and “meet her” at her upcoming graduation in June 2011.  But yeah, I couldn’t keep a secret from my Sis and so I mentioned my plan to her.  It is through that she came up with the Best. Idea. Ever.  SIBS WEEKEND!!  So this past weekend, I FINALLY ventured back to Athens, OH to ‘meet’ my extended family: Alisha, Jakob, and Kelly.

Words really cannot express just how A*MAY*ZING this past weekend was.  As I’ve put been putting it: I have never weekend had a time filled with so many smiles, laughs, and pure joy & contentment.  It was truly the most PERFECT (my favorite place ever) with Alisha and her family, it was exactly what I could have ever wanted it to be.  From playing Wii and watching YouTube videos with Jakob to finally experiencing Athens with Alisha, it was simply magical.  Sure, it wasn’t one of those typical OU weekends- and actually there was no alcohol involved for me- but that’s what made it so fantastic- besides the company of course.  It was exactly how this 27-year old OU alum needed to visit her former college campus.  After all, as one wise alum once told me as an undergrad, “Athens is about what it is because of the people.”  I couldn’t agree more.

Another beautiful part of this weekend was reconnecting with my former professor/confidante/mentor, Linda.  Interesting enough, I actually believe that Linda played a large part in my initial reach out to Alisha.  See, Linda was a professor of mine during Spring Quarter of my senior year.  (aka The Season for Panic Attacks)  I just remember receiving an email from Linda after class one day asking me how I was doing- hinting at the fact that she noticed that I didn’t seem like myself- and encouraging me to open up more in class and share the thoughts that seemed to be running through my mind.

To make a long story short, Linda’s kind-hearted reaching out made me confide in her about the uneasiness I had been feeling, beginning our own weeks-worth exchange of emails.  I found myself opening up to her more than I had ever done with anyone- well maybe besides Libby, Brandon, and Jenni- let alone someone you barely knew me outside of the classroom setting.  Still, her genuiness shined through during class and in her emails and I found it impossible not to let her in.  Since then, which was five years ago, I have always had the highest regards for Linda.  So much so that within those first few weeks of correspondence with Alisha I insisted that she take one of Linda’s classes before graduation.  Fortunately, she’s enrolled in her YAL course next quarter- spring quarter of her senior year just like me!

Alisha and I were so honored to share the Pen Pal Book with Linda and include her into our Sibs Weekend afternoon.  She is truly an incredible woman and I feel blessed to have her in my life as a friend and mentor.  

Like all good things Sibs Weekend found itself coming to an end, but not before a trip to Columbus (which is where I had to catch my bus later that night).  While the sadness of the inevitable goodbyes began playing in our minds, we knew we had to make the best of our remaining time together.  We loaded ourselves in the car and headed to one of my favorite places in Ohio: Easton.  First Stop: Build-A-Bear. 

So true story: For years I have told my brother that IF (huge IF) I ever have a boyfriend, Nicky should tell him to build me a bear.  Call me crazy (because I am), but I have always wanted one.  I mean I’ve built many bears (and a bunny) in my day, but never one for myself… until Sunday, February 20, 2011 that is.  The best part is that this was totally Alisha’s idea!  Yep, we are definitely meant to be sisters! 

Surrounded by a sea of children and parents my age, the four of us piled into Build-A-Bear to create our little sidekicks.  I know, we are totally adorable!  We definitely took way to long to decide on our choices, but eventually we chose the following: Alisha- a puppy named Lynn (my middle name); Kelly- (the same) puppy named Sammy; Jakob- a monkey named Justin (yes, as in Justin Bieber); and me- a bear (decided upon by my boy Jakob) named Lauren (Alisha’s middle name).  And now for the hard part….choosing outfits.  Seriously, I have an easier time choosing clothes for myself!  Anyways, we finally made our decisions with my little Lauren dressed to the 9’s in a true Ohio-lovin’ outfit: Ohio University tee underneath a red & white (for Ohio State) Cheerios outfit (Alisha loves Glee), complete with red & white (OSU) and green (OU) ear bows AND…brown cowgirl boots.  Love Love Love.  After acting like we were kids again, Jakob and I let the girls shop in Forever XXI while we sought out fun in the photo booth.  (I ♥ him so much!)  But of course we had to take Alisha back for some photo booth fun with us afterwards.  Note: I really think that IF I ever get married, there has to be a photo booth there….even if it means I must have my reception at Chuc E Cheese…or, better yet, Easton since we know it has one. 

After feeding our hungry bellies and indulging in many more laughs, we all knew that our time together was dwindling.  As Alisha drove downtown, we started expressing our I am going to miss you’s and planning on next visits.  After pointing out my old apartment, we pulled into a spot on High Street nearby MoJoe Lounge (my hangout spot until the bus arrived).  Led by Jakob, my family insisted on walking me into the coffeeshop/bar, which I finally gave into.  Shortly after, the tears began building up in our eyes s the I love you’s were exchanged.  And my poor Jakob was so sad that it made me cry.  “You know that you are a little brother to me, Jakob.  I will always be here for you,” is all that I can remember saying as the sadness kicked in full force.  I would have given anything to have been able to go back to Athens with them, but unfortunately the Reality of Big Girl World is that you cannot always do what you want to do.  So with tears in my eyes, I said my goodbyes and more I love you’s with my family. 

I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend, and I am missing them terribly even two days later.  Still, I know that they will be in my life forever and I cannot wait to see them in Pittsburgh on Easter weekend when they get to meet the rest of my family.  And then, more fun in Athens for Alisha’s Birthday/ Mom’s Weekend in early May.  I cannot wait to see them again!  Hopefully I can beat Jakob at Wii next time. 

 

*** Let this Story of Alisha and Me remind you that you never know where, when, and how you’ll meet your next best friend/ soul sister. ***

 

This post is dedicated to the A*MAY*ZING Alisha Thomas.  My life is so much better with you in it and I honestly cannot remember what it was like without you and your family.  I will always be here for you and believe in your more than you probably believe in yourself. Sis, I love you!  XOXO ~K

all i have are the choices i make.   Leave a comment

Darlene, one of the loves of my life, always knows the right things to say, even if I don’t know the right question to ask.  On Thursday afternoon she knew the right quote to share: Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved. ~ William Jennings Bryan.  After a short reply of my own, Darlene wrote back: Perhaps because you are making your own destiny, my dear sweet friend 😮

Fate. Destiny.Everything Happens for a Reason. We’ve heard these words a thousand times before and can expect to hear them millions more.  And we, ourselves, tend to repeat them too.  But what about the words: Do. Take. Go. As in Do What You Want. Take Chances. Go After Your Dreams.  Why don’t we use these words more often to instruct & inspire others (and ourselves) about the reality that is known as life? 

Today I followed my own words of wisdom by attending Open House for a grad program that would allow me to Do What I Want; Take Chances; and Go After My Dreams.  Within the first twenty minutes I found myself overwhelmed with the notion, “this feels right…so it must be right”Now I say ‘overwhelmed’ because, quite frankly, while everything sounds good and aligns perfectly with my plans, I’m experienced enough to know that life doesn’t always go according to plan.  And here I am with Martina McBride’s song, Anyway, playing in my head: But do it anyway. Okay Martina, I will.  I’ll take this chance and apply.  And I’ll trust that whatever is right, will happen.  Whether or not the outcome begins with a “Congratulations!” letter, I have made the choice to do it anyway.  Do. Take. Go.

You know, Do. Take. Go. applies to so many other things too.  Like Love.  While I can surely find reason to argue against love being a choice (ie. fate/destiny), ultimately we do have a choice whom to love.  However, we really don’t have a choice over who loves us.  In other words, we cannot force someone to love us (back).  So what is one to do?        

I may not be the best person to answer this question (these days) as I find myself asking others, How do you know if a guy likes you? more times than I’d like to admit.  But I’ll try, as much as possible, to tackle the topic from an unbiased perspective.  So what is the question again?  Oh yeah… what role can we play in getting someone else to like us?  There’s only one way to do it: Be Yourself.  For some this may be the hardest thing to do, but I believe that it’s easiest when the right person is that hopeful recipient.  If you feel like you can be yourself, then, trust me, you know you’ve found the right one. 

So to wrap this up (and return back to my application), let me say this: Whether it’s a new job, new boy, or new opportunity, remember that You Always have a Choice.  You have the Power to Choose Your Own Destiny.  You could spend your whole life waiting…and waiting.  But where’s the fun in that?  The truth is, Everything Happens for a Reason because YOU make it happen when you take that first step, and then another and another after that. 

And one more thing: Those darn butterflies that we love to hate…love them, because they are an indication that something/someone is worth being nervous about.  So embrace those butterflies. Do What You Want. Take Chances. Go After Your Dreams.

 

* I sing * I dream * I love *

hot.mess…minus the hot.   Leave a comment

Today is not my day.  Yes, there were certainly some ‘YAY’ parts to this Fri-YAY, as in FB chatting with Brandon and my lovely phone date with my beloved Darlene.  But unfortunately I could neither drink enough coffee nor find one more table to paint to turn this blahness into some thing resembling a smile.  My apartment is a mess and therefore I, too, am a mess.  Does anyone else feel that way or am I just turning into my mother?  Seriously though, whenever my apartment is torn up (as has been the case since this whole bed bugs epidemic struck a mere few weeks ago), I tend to breathe that messiness into my being.  Unfortunately this mess of an apartment isn’t going away until it needs to be for the arrival of Jen & Matt next week.  Now that’s the kind of “YAY” I like for Fri-YAY.

Forcing myself to stay in tonight, I’ve spent the past few hours going back-and-forth between trying to come up with a post to write and painting second coats on my now black night stands, end tables, and desk.  Unfortunately this writer/blogger has been more productive with the painting, which is probably obvious as you read this rambling of a post. 

I don’t know.  Maybe I should just surrender and call it an early night…which is probably a good idea with tomorrow’s early wake-up call and (potentially) late night out with the girls.  Okay, Friday, January 7, 2011…I surrender.  You win.  I lose.  But I’m bowing out gracefully...

and taking one of the loves of my life, Hazel, with me.  If only I could.  I miss this little girl so much.  I’d give anything to be able to cuddle up with her right now and watch Leave It To Beaver or even Elmo.  That’s how much I love & miss her!!  And Georgie too of course, who is now walking.  Seriously, I need to get myself back to Cinci to see all my kids- including Hazel & George.

Good night, kids.  Hope you had some ‘YAY’ in your Fri-YAY, and if not, then here’s to hoping our weekends are much more enjoyable.  Tomorrow is a big day for me and yes, there will be lots of coffee.  Let’s just hope it works its energy-boosting magic tomorrow.  Pingers crossed.   

Song of the Moment: What Do You Want From Me by Jerrod Niemann

we may look the same, but we are all changed completely forever.   Leave a comment

Before I begin, I have to say that today is a very special day.  Today my dear friends, Darlene & Paul are getting married!!  And tomorrow they leave for their New Mexico honeymoon adventure.  I couldn’t be happier for these two lovely people and the love that they found in one another.  It’s a beautiful thing: L.O.V.E.  They are deserving of so much beauty and happiness, and I feel lucky to have them in my life- for as long as they’ll have me!  When you find people like this in the world, you’ll do everything you can to hold onto them forever.  Congratulations, Darlene & Paul.  Love you!  XOXO

As Darlene adapts to the terms “wife” and “husband” today, I find myself thinking more about last night’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy and the concept of “change”  The wise words of Meredith Grey says it all:

It’s the way people try not to change that’s unnatural. The way we cling to what things were instead of letting things be what they are. The way we cling to old memories instead of forming new ones. The way we insist on believing despite every scientific indication that anything in this lifetime is permanent. Change is constant. How we experience change that’s up to us. It can feel like death or it can feel like a second chance at life. If we open our fingers, loosen our grips, go with it, it can feel like pure adrenaline. Like at any moment we can have another chance at life. Like at any moment, we can be born all over again.

My mom used to “constructively criticize” me (translation: point out my flaws) saying that I am “afraid of change” and horrible accepting it as a fact of life.  Unfortunately for me, she was right.  However, in my defense, I have to say that I’ve gotten A LOT better.  Yes, change is scary.  But it is also inevitable.  We are changed by LOVE.  We are changed by HURT.  We are changed by ENDINGS, and by BEGINNINGS.  We cannot run from change.  We cannot hide from change either.  All we can do is accept that change is bound to happen and when it does, we need to welcome it with open arms and adapt accordingly.  Even though it tends to scare us, change is a beautiful thing and quite necessary sometimes. 

Change isn’t always a physical thing, like moving to a new city, starting a new job, or beginning a new relationship.  Sometimes change entails nothing more than an internal stir-up of new thoughts & coinciding emotions.  We have to commit to these changes otherwise we’ll fall back into our habits.  Okay, obviously I’m speaking too much from my own experiences here, but I think it’s the most impactful way so just go with it.  When we accept changes, we don’t necessarily have to abandon who we are.  I made that mistake once before.  But instead we have to understand that the respective change(s) allow us to grow, and because of this change is good and necessary.

When it comes to L.O.V.E., change can be all-consuming.  When love first enters our life, we are thrown a curveball that we immediately must choose to swing or let it fly past us.  From that point we make choices daily.  Do we hold onto it?  Fight for it?  Or is it time to let go?

I think we can all agree that letting go is the hardest change.  When you truly love someone, the last thing you want to do is say goodbye.  Love convinces you that you can make the other happy and that’s the only way you can be happy.  Let’s face it, love doesn’t always make us happy.  I’ll speak for myself here and say that the love I’ve experienced (for a certain someone) has hurt more because I’ve been fighting too much to keep it alive.  Silly girl, that’s not the love you deserve.  In a completely unselfish way, you have to tell yourself- I love you, but I love me more. It’s time to let you go to let me live.  It’s not easy, but it’s a change that we all need to deem necessary.

Song of the Moment: What I Did For Love performed by Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) on GLEE

one day you realize that the fairy tale may be slightly different than you dreamed.   3 comments

You know how when you were a little kid and you believed in fairy tales, that fantasy of what your life would be, white dress, prince charming who would carry you away to a castle on a hill. You would lie in bed at night and close your eyes and you had complete and utter faith. Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, Prince Charming, they were so close you could taste them, but eventually you grow up, one day you open your eyes and the fairy tale disappears. Most people turn to the things and people they can trust. But the thing is its hard to let go of that fairy tale entirely cause almost everyone has that smallest bit of hope, of faith, that one day they will open their eyes and it will come true. (Meredith Grey)

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As little girls we grow up with the stories of princesses, Prince Charming, kissing magical frogs, sparkling gowns, glass slippers…anything and everything our imaginations create.  Anything is possible.  We hope, we dream, we believe that our wishes will come true. 

As we get older we are introduced to romantic comedies and the concepts of fate, destiny, serendipity, soulmates and the ever-so-popular theme of boy-meets-girl-boy-loses-girl-boy-gets-girl-backWe find ourselves dreaming of the hot new guy in class serenading us with a song at the pep rally and being crowned Prom Queen next to our longtime crush before living happily ever after in the world beyond high school. (Cue Taylor Swift song.)

Then we really get old(er) and entered into our hopeful maybe phase of life: Maybe I’ll meet a Dr. McDreamy when visiting my friend’s new baby at the hospital?  Or maybe a Nate Archibald will pick me up at the bar tonight and kiss me good night at my front door?  And maybe, just maybe, a long-lost love Ross Gellar-type, will chase me down at the airport and ask me not to leave?  But my maybe dream is the inevitable meeting a guy at a coffee shop….and if he looks like McDreamy or Nate, then so be it! 

So where am I going with all of this?  Well, ladies (and gentlemen), this week- with the guidance, love, and support of my beautiful fairy godmothers, Darlene & Adriana (love you both!)- I realized that it’s time for me to give up the fairy tale that I’ve been believing in.  Because that’s exactly what it is/was: A fairy tale.  A beautiful fairy tale.  And like all good princesses, I believed with all my heart in that prince.  That if I remained loyal and patient, that he’d overcome all of the obstacles, fight all the dragons, and rescue me to embark on our happily ever after.   

To put it nicely, that didn’t happen and I’m finally able to admit to myself that it never will.  The truth is, as Gossip Girl said, “We make our own fairy tales.”  As much as I want to play princess again and abandon the stresses on my non-royalty life, I know that’s not possible.  Plus, living life day-to-day is the better than the predictable fairy tale plot anyways.  And remember that line: You have to kiss a lot of frogs before your find your prince?  Well frankly this girl hasn’t kissed enough frogs yet.  Watch out, boys! Muah!

Song of the Moment: White Horse by Taylor Swift

if i follow my heart, where will it lead me?   2 comments

It took me awhile to fall asleep last night, and as Darlene and I say, “Those damn squirrels and bats were running around in my head.”  So many things and nothing at all contributed to the many ideas that ran through my mind, keeping me from getting the much-needed rest for a back-to-work MOAN-Day. 

Somehow I fell asleep…and then woke up…fell asleep again…rinse, lather, repeat.  I woke up again and again last night, and each time I had the same squirrel in my head encouraging me to think: What am I really doing?  I woke up to my 5:30 am alarm and that thought was still there.  It walked with me to the train station and rode the train with me up to Skokie.  Come to think of it, it even accompanied me as I drank my Starbucks.  But it was during that cup of coffee that I realized that I may not know what I’m doing…but I know what I want to do. 

As I said in my last post, this weekend really made an impact on me and clarified a lot for me.  And thinking about Hazel & George only makes those feelings stronger.  Working with kids in the Child Life/hospital environment is what I want to do.  It what I truly believe I am meant to do.  So today I took a chance and followed my heart– in more ways than one.  Where it will take me, I haven’t a clue but I know that I’m better taking this chance than always wondering what if.   

I’m not a selfish person.  I couldn’t be if I tried.  But today I put myself first and thought about everything that is important to me.  What do I really want?  How do I want my life to unfold?  Who do I want to be?  WHO AM I?  Today I answered those four questions by taking a chance on something that wasn’t even a possibility in my tossing-and-turning sleepless hours. 

The beauty of life: You never know what tomorrow holds, and therefore, you must follow your ♥.  

Song of the Moment: Taking Chances by Glee Cast

you’re just a fool, just a fool to believe you can change the world.   2 comments

I haven’t cried in a long time…but I just did.  Over the smallest thing too, which I will regret doing once I feel better, and I know I (eventually) will.  An email.  I cried over an email.  An email that I anticipated getting for some time now, and an email that I set myself up for yesterday.  Why?  Because I couldn’t keep waiting; couldn’t keep believing in the possibility.  I needed to know. 

I look like a trainwreck right now after my cry session; a cry session that took place after a morning walk with no shower before nor after.  (Note: I need a shower.)  I am sitting Indian-style on the floor in front of a child-sized full length mirror continually glancing at my blotchy face and horrible bed head.  Okay, I’m going to shower.  BRB.

Do I feel better now?  A little bit, I guess.  Still sitting in front of this mirror and not really recognizing the girl staring back at me.  She looks sad, maybe as sad as I feel. 

Since I sat down in front of this mirror, actually almost immediately as I began to type the title of this post (song lyrics from Carrie Underwood’s Change) I received one of those texts that comes at the perfect time.  I thought I heard something in between key strokes, and therefore, got up to check my cell for the possible message.  A simple, yet very meaningful text from Stef.  It was just what I needed.  My tears slowed down as I responded back.  (Thanks again, Stef.)

Shortly after, as I started this post, I noticed a new email in my Inbox: Darlene.  Another heaven-sent friend of mine whose message came at the right time.  I get to FINALLY meet Darlene & Paul tomorrow and have a much-anticipated sleepover!!  Much more on that in later posts.

I need to head down to the beach because this tan is not going to appear by sitting inside, but let me finish writing about this morning’s blahness in hopes that I can get it out of my system.  This morning’s email was a bit of a dream crusher for me as well as a setback.  Another fantasy trumped by reality.  I could say more, but that’s really the best way to describe it.

So here I am, forced to jump back on the horse and search for another way out dream to follow.  Back to the drawing board…and soon, back to Chicago.

Before I end this post and do head down to the beach, let me say that I chose the title of this post to address my frustrations and confusions.  Today, when a dream was denied my immediately thought was they made a mistake because they have no idea what they’re missing out on.  When you aspire to make a difference in the world, through an opportunity (ie. new job), you hope that the world aligns to allow you to do so…instead of turning you down.