Have you ever seen the movie Forrest Gump? I am Jenny. I am a searcher, not a settler. For as long as I can remember I've always been searching, searching for what I wanted to be when I grew up, where I wanted to live, who I wanted to be and what would make me happy. I never could seem to "find it", any of it, but in the end Jenny did and I think so did I.
Growing up I never dreamed of being married and having a family. I wanted to see the world. The older I got the more my friends settled down and into life the more I became increasingly unsettled. Growing up in the Midwest I knew I was different, I tried to settle but never could find what I should be settling into.
Another thing that makes me different than a lot of people is, I do. I don't talk about what I'm going to do, I just do. There was no master game plan when I went to Rwanda in April of 2009. I did a little looking into Project Rwanda, talked to a couple of people, told Mark I was going to go (I didn't ask…I just told him) and walked into Sysco and quit my six figure job on the spot. So many people want to have everything planned to the most minute detail when making a life decision such as that, I just did it. I have begun to realize how truly unique that characteristic is. So many people have asked me how I did what I did and how they could do whatever their dream ambition is and I really don't have any great words of wisdom or inspiration…just do it.
Every career I've had I had no idea what I was doing when I started. I never had run a restaurant and then was running six Subways. Now I sell bikes in Africa, not like there's a career training course for that employment option. I simply have no fear…well, take that back, I have constant fear which I do not let interfere with my life…I just leap right in and figure it out. There was no master life plan to include running the logistics and marketing for a Rwandan cycling team. I figured it out though. I realize this makes me a bit different. I will take on anything.
I am also a strong personality which enables me to handle all of the above. This doesn't really make me different, however, I am very secure in that strength, it goes to the core of my being. I am not afraid to be around other strong people. My strength is not ego induced. I seek out other strong people. I like the dialogue and the disagreements. I am not intimidated, never. And even though I have this strength I am not afraid to hear criticism and make adjustments. I know I am not perfect and am not afraid to admit it.
I also do not understand the word "No". When I am told "No" in my head I say, "Not yet, they need more information, there's another way." No simply does not exist. I know that is why I always did well in sales. With that attitude comes an inordinate amount of tenacity, persistence and…at times, obstinance.
Yet, I am the same as most people when it comes to life and our futures. I still get scared. I still wonder if I'm doing the right thing. Coming back to the US in a few days for a long stay is scary for me. I have no "paid" job, no home it's a bit unsettling. I was telling a friend of mine how I was feeling about the upcoming move and in her email she said, "You'll do great and will be fine because you're you. You're the only other person I've met that has a special brand of survival instinct like mine (yours is stronger). You will always be fine because you're bold, true to yourself and don't take no for an answer."
In the end, Jenny came home too.